The two-stage "Block 5" Falcon 9 launched at 1:18 a.m. EDT (0518 GMT) today (Aug. 7) from Florida'sCape Canaveral Air Force Station, successfully lofting an Indonesian telecommunications satellite to orbit.
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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. The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years, ' as stated in a mission description.
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.
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. 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. 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.
"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".
In December 2015, the Falcon 9 rocket achieved the first ever orbital class rocket landing after returning from delivering 11 communications satellites and this year, it launched Falcon Heavy, the heaviest rocket in use.
SpaceX's goal is the rapid reusability of its rockets to drive down the cost of launches.
Musk has said Block 5 will be the last major iteration for the Falcon 9.
Liftoff came on time at 1:19 a.m. ET Tuesday (10:19 p.m. PT Monday) after a trouble-free countdown at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
An artist's impression of the Merah Putih communications satellite in orbit with its solar arrays and antennas deployed. 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. That flight is scheduled for launch next month from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
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