SpaceX launches Indonesian satellite and kicks off new round for rocket reusability

Merah Putih satellite

The Merah Putih satellite

Merah Putih translates into "red and white" and is a reference to the colors on Indonesia's national flag.

The satellite is expected to be in service for 15 or more years.

Following stage separation, Falcon 9's first stage, which previously flew on the first Block 5 mission in May 2018, successfully landed on SpaceX's "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The landing marked the 28th successful recovery of a stage one booster by SpaceX. SpaceX's previous offering, the Falcon 9 booster, could be reused twice and cost $60 million to launch.

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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.

In May 2018, Falcon 9 was used to send a large communications satellite for Bangladesh from Florida and the vehicle landed on a drone ship, it was inspected, refurbished and made ready for flight again.

In conjunction with the re-launch, SpaceX announced plans to shorten re-launch times for the Block 5 booster to less than 24 hours by 2019, which would further solidify SpaceX's dominance of the private space flight market - dominance that has already pushed Russian competitors completely out of the market and now threatens to lap the technology of the last remnants of Chinese competition.

"For instance, its grid fins, which are used for steering the rocket back from space, are made out of titanium, so they won't catch fire on the way back to Earth".

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Just by looking at the massive reduction in time, we can assume SpaceX has been working on the reusability of the blocks with good success.

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. Space Systems Loral of Palo Alto, California, built the satellite ahead of schedule, according to Telkom Indonesia. 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 will be located at 108 degrees east longitude. After extensive testing and checkout, the satellite will be put into service.

The hope is to use it for 10 launches before it needs to be looked at and restored.

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If launch remains set for August 23, liftoff is scheduled for a window opening at 11:33 p.m. EDT (0333 GMT on August 24).

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