Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully re-launches rocket

Merah Putih satellite

The Merah Putih satellite

REUSE, REUSE, REUSE. This launch is the first to employ a reused Block 5 - the first stage of the rocket.

SpaceX conducted its first relaunch of the Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket August 7, successfully delivering a communications satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit for Telkom Indonesia.

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.

In the tiny hours of Tuesday morning, SpaceX launched an Indonesian satellite in its 15th flight this year.

Formerly designated Telkom-4, the satellite renamed Merah Putih - representing the Indonesian flag's red and white colors - will replace the Telkom-1 spacecraft launched in 1999.

Merah Putih "will carry an all C-band payload capable of supporting a wide range of applications, including providing mobile broadband across Indonesia and Southeast Asia". This was SpaceX's 15th launch so far this year and its 60th of a Falcon 9 rocket.

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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. If that happens, we'd see the same Block 5 launch a whopping three times in just one year.

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.

An artist's impression of the Merah Putih communications satellite in orbit with its solar arrays and antennas deployed.

In May 2018, Falcon 9 was used to send a large communications satellite for Bangladesh from Florida and the vehicle landed on a drone ship, it was inspected, refurbished and made ready for flight again. Though SpaceX hasn't released much about what they found when they did take the Block 5 apart, the quick turnaround between launches indicates that Block 5 seems to be living up to that promise.

Eight minutes after it took off, Space X landed the Falcon 9's first stage on one of its drone ships called "Of Course I Still Love You". 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.

"Satellite plays a vital role in our telecommunications infrastructure", said Zulhelfi Abidin, Telkom's chief technology officer. That flight is scheduled for launch next month from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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