Space X Booster Flies Again - This Time With an Indonesian Satellite
09 August, 2018, 08:39 | Author: Bridget Leonard
That now paves the way for SpaceX to launch the block 5 rocket for a third successive launch - which would be the first time in history a booster was used three times.
It's also the first re-flight of the company's new, recyclable Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, which had its first launch back in May. The first stage successfully landed on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, which was waiting in position in the Atlantic Ocean (a camera feed loss at the moment of landing created a bit of extra drama). It was successfully recovered and spruced up for tonight's rerun of the GTO launch profile. Today's launch put Indonesia's Merah Putih satellite to a high geostationary transfer orbit.
On board was Merah Putih, a communications satellite for Indonesia. The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years, ' as stated in a mission description.
The hope is to use it for 10 launches before it needs to be looked at and restored.
The upgrades to the Falcon 9 Block 5 include a beefed up heat shield, retractable landing legs and other modifications to make the first stage simpler to reuse, reducing the refurbishment needed between 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.
Update 1:50 AM ET: Merah Putih is in position.
SpaceX's goal is the rapid reusability of its rockets to drive down the cost of launches.
The new telecom craft, designed for a 16-year life, was built by SSL in Palo Alto, California. The new satellite will replace Telkom 1, which failed in a mysterious debris-shedding event in geostationary orbit a year ago.
A 65-minute launch window opens up at 3:33 a.m. on Saturday.
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