SpaceX launched the first previously-flown "block 5" version of its Falcon 9 rocket early Tuesday, sending an Indonesian communications satellite into space and successfully recovering the first stage booster with a pinpoint landing on an offshore droneship.
B1046's second suborbital jaunt and landing aboard drone ship Of Course I Still Love You will nearly undoubtedly be a turning point in the future history of SpaceX.
The landing marked the 28th successful recovery of a stage one booster by SpaceX. Yes, the first stage was just used in a launch back in May that sent Bangladeshi communications satellite Bangabandhu into orbit. The spacecraft - whose name translates as "red and white", a reference to the colors of the Indonesian flag - will become part of the network run by PT Telkom Indonesia, the nation's largest telecommunications provider.
SpaceX only had a two-hour launch window that opened at 1:18 am EST Tuesday in which to complete the mission. SpaceX founder Elon Musk's goal is for swift launch turnarounds using the same rocket, even twice within 24 hours.
Musk claims that the new Block 5 booster can be used for up to 100 launches with "moderate" refurbishment work, and costs only $50 million to launch. Eastern from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida with Telkom Indonesia's Merah Putih satellite.
The Falcon 9 rocket shortly before liftoff. "Ironically, we need to take it apart to confirm that it does not need to be taken apart".
He said the Block 5's first stage booster is created to fly 10 times "with no scheduled refurbishment". If that happens, we'd see the same Block 5 launch a whopping three times in just one year. The satellite will provide Internet, telephone and cellular backhaul services, according to SSL.
The next launch from Cape Canaveral is scheduled for Saturday at 3:33 a.m. EDT (0733 GMT), when a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket is set to loft NASA's Parker Solar Probe on a seven-year mission to fly through the sun's corona. The new satellite will service Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
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