SpaceX successfully launches newest reusable rocket

Posted August 09, 2018

The up-and-down journey was the second such trip for the same Falcon 9 booster, which debuted May 11 with the successful launch of Bangladesh's first communications satellite.

Formerly designated Telkom-4, the satellite renamed Merah Putih - representing the Indonesian flag's red and white colors - will replace the Telkom-1 spacecraft launched in 1999. This was SpaceX's 15th launch so far this year and its 60th of a Falcon 9 rocket.

After separating from the satellite, the Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. It became the 28th booster that SpaceX has ever recovered.

He continued to say that the Block 5's first stage booster had been created to fly 10 times "with no scheduled refurbishment" and with "moderate scheduled maintenance", ultimately being capable of 100 missions.

SpaceX was expected to conduct more invasive and time-consuming inspections on the first returned Block 5 booster, and three months after its first launch, the stage is ready to go again. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has called Block 5 "the most reliable rocket ever built".

Musk has said that reusing rockets is essential for cutting costs in spaceflight and making space exploration more accessible.

Liftoff came on time at 1:19 a.m. ET Tuesday (10:19 p.m. PT Monday) after a trouble-free countdown at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. After 18 years of service, beyond it design life, Telkom-1 suffered a fuel leak a year ago and began to break apart in orbit, disrupting services.

Merah Putih's on-board propulsion system will be used to circularize the orbit at the intended 22,300-mile altitude and to maneuver it to its designated operational location at 108 degrees east longitude.

"Satellite plays a vital role in our telecommunications infrastructure", said Zulhelfi Abidin, chief technology officer of Telkom Indonesia, in a press release earlier this year. The satellite will provide Internet, telephone and cellular backhaul services, according to SSL.

The hope is to use it for 10 launches before it needs to be looked at and restored. That flight is scheduled for launch next month from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

ULA plans to launch a NASA probe that will head to the sun's atmosphere for a first-of-its-kind mission.

SpaceX is planning around 30 missions in 2018, up from a record of 18 in 2017.