SpaceX booster flies again with Indonesia satellite

Audrey Hill
August 9, 2018

The Falcon 9, with its Block 5 booster, placed an Indonesian telecommunications satellite into orbit after its launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The landing marked the 28th successful recovery of a stage one booster by SpaceX.

As the satellite headed to space, the first stage used grid fins and thrusters to land on a floating ship, almost 400 miles off the Florida cost.

SpaceX has launched its Falcon 9 rocket - powered by an advanced first-stage booster that the company said could be used up to 100 times. The Block 5 design upgrades The new Block 5 has been created to fly 10 missions with just inspections between landing and liftoff, and 100 times or more with some refurbishment involved.

The Falcon 9 was deployed from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1:18am local time.

This launch was the third mission by Elon Musk " s company in 16 days and the 15th of 2018, successfully re-landing on one of SpaceX's drone ships "Of Course I Still Love', which was stationed a few hundred miles away in the Atlantic Ocean.

Around the same time, the Falcon 9's upper stage shut down and entered a preliminary orbit before a almost 20-minute coast across the Atlantic. The launch was used to deliver the Merah Putih satellite to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit.

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The 60-transponder, all C-band satellite separated from the rocket's upper stage nearly 32 minutes later.

"This satellite will play an important role in enhancing telephone and internet service for Indonesian's 17,000 islands", said Lauren Lyons, systems certification engineer for SpaceX.

"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". The company says its Block 5 booster can be reused 10 times, a significant step up from the now-retired Block 4 version. "And the structure that holds the engines to the rocket's bottom is bolted down now, not welded, to make it easier to take apart and inspect", according to The Verge.

He said the Block 5's first stage booster is created to fly 10 times "with no scheduled refurbishment".

Between 30 and 50 boosters for Falcon 9 Block 5 vehicles could be manufactured to meet customer demand, each flying multiple times, he said.

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.

The Merah Putih satellite launched Tuesday will provide C-band telecommunications services over Indonesia and India. 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.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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