Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

SpaceX Re-Launches 'Block 5' Rocket for 1st Time, Nails Landing Again

SpaceX Re-Launches 'Block 5' Rocket for 1st Time, Nails Landing Again

Not so for SpaceX, which Monday relaunched and retrieved its block 5 Falcon 9 rocket for the first time. Rather, it really is the case that the first Block 5 reuse is one of the most important things ever done by SpaceX. The rocket's first stage returned to earth, landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Falcon 9 with the Block 5 launched from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The block 5 is the rocket SpaceX founder Elon Musk is counting on to launch astronauts to the International Space Station starting next year, the centerpiece of the company's drive to lower launch costs while improving reliability.

The rocket's upgrades are aimed at shortening the turnaround time for recovery and reuse.

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

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The Merah Putih satellite is designed for a 16-year life, its owner said in a statement.

Merah Putih's on-board propulsion system will be used to circularize the orbit at the intended 22,300-mile altitude and to maneuver it to its designated operational location at 108 degrees east longitude. "SSL has been an excellent spacecraft supplier and has completed the satellite construction ahead of schedule".

Launch coverage can be seen on Space Coast Daily TV. Its primary goal is to launch a 5.8-ton satellite called Merah Putih meant to improve telecommunications in Indonesia, India, and much of Southeast Asia. After extensive testing and checkout, the satellite will be put into service. The new satellite will service Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

The two-hour launch window opens on Tuesday, August 7 at 1:18 a.m. EDT, or 5:18 UTC.

With the third reuse now explicitly on the table for B1046 "later this year", Falcon 9 has broken a two-launch ceiling that long loomed over its older predecessors. Another predawn Falcon 9 flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on July 25 delivered 10 Iridium voice and data relay payloads to orbit.

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