Indonesian communications satellite deployed in orbit by SpaceX

Image courtesy of PT Telkom

On Tuesday, August 7 at 1:18 a.m. EDT, Falcon 9 successfully lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida carrying the Merah Putih mission for PT Telkom Indonesia. It will now attempt to land on the Of Course I Still Love You barge - if successful, the company will most likely be planning for its third launch.

But Tuesday's launch of an Indonesian communications satellite was the first to re-fly an upgraded Falcon 9, known as Block 5, that is created to launch 10 or more times. The Block 5, unlike previous models, is created to need little taking-apart and refurbishment in between launches.

Liftoff, from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The Falcon 9 rocket shortly before liftoff. Eastern from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida with Telkom Indonesia's Merah Putih satellite.

"All stations, this is recovery, Falcon 9 has landed", radioed a member of SpaceX's launch and landing team.

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.

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Today's launch lofted the Merah Putih satellite to a high geostationary transfer orbit.

The 60-transponder, all C-band satellite separated from the rocket's upper stage nearly 32 minutes later. This was SpaceX's 15th launch so far this year and its 60th of a Falcon 9 rocket.

Musk had said the Block 5's first stage booster is created to fly 10 times "with no scheduled refurbishment" and with "moderate scheduled maintenance", Block 5 first stages could be capable of 100 missions.

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.

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. After the vehicle landed on one of SpaceX's drone ships on completion of its flight, the company did its inspection and refurbishment over the last three months to get it ready for flight again. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has called Block 5 "the most reliable rocket ever built". 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.

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

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