Science

SpaceX's brand new, recyclable Falcon 9 rocket launches again

SpaceX's brand new, recyclable Falcon 9 rocket launches again

SpaceX launched Block 5 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The reusable stage one booster touched down on the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" approximately nine minutes after launch.

Merah Putih, formerly called Telkom-4, replaces Telkom-1, bringing coverage to Indonesia, India and other parts of Asia to expand broadband and telephony services. That marks the second successful launch and retrieval for this particular model, which had previously launched just under three months ago, in May 2018. Though SpaceX hasn't released much about what they found when they did take the Block 5 apart, the quick turnaround between launches indicates that Block 5 seems to be living up to that promise. The satellite will be deployed approximately 32 minutes after liftoff. This milestone may feel small in the shadow of SpaceX's accomplishments over the last ~18 months but make no mistake: the second flight of a Block 5 booster is by far the company's most significant achievement in recent years.




For Telkom Indonesia, the launch restores the state-owned operator's fleet back to three satellites after one of its satellites exploded in orbit last August. The hope is to use it for 10 launches before it needs to be looked at and restored. So after the May launch, Musk said, "Ironically, we need to take it apart to confirm it does not need to be taken apart", as Ars Technica reports. The number "3" may not immediately feel significant, but in the case of Falcon 9, the third reuse of a booster has always remained out of reach for older versions of the rocket, walled off by the exponentially greater cost and effort required to refurbish non-Block 5 rockets after their first reuse. After extensive testing and checkout, the satellite will be put into service.

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).

Tuesday's flight came 16 days after an early morning Falcon 9 launch July 22 that sent the Telstar 19 VANTAGE communications satellite into orbit for Telesat.