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SpaceX's brand new, recyclable Falcon 9 rocket launches again

07 August 2018

SpaceX is set to launch their Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Merah Putih communications satellite from Cape Canaveral to Tuesday, August 7.

Equipped with 60 transponders, Satelit Merah Putih will support the existing Telkom 2 and Telkom 3S satellites to provide services for customers in Indonesia and foreign countries amid rising demand.

The reusable stage one booster touched down on the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" approximately nine minutes after launch.

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The landing was the second for this particular first stage, which also pulled one off on May 11 during the first-ever flight of a Block 5 Falcon 9.

SpaceX hasn't gone into detail about how hard it was to get the used Block 5 ready for reuse but SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk made Twitter comments last month that hinted it isn't an easy process. The Merah Putih satellite is ready to be deployed.

The first stage landed right about the same time the second stage engine shut down after reaching the planned preliminary "parking" orbit. If SpaceX has its way, this won't be the last mission for this Block 5, either. "And the structure that holds the engines to the rocket's bottom is bolted down now, not welded, to make it easier to take apart and inspect", according to The Verge. Built by Lockheed Martin, the satellite was 18 years old, operating three years past its design life. The spacecraft will be positioned in geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator at 108 degrees east longitude.

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"Satellite plays a vital role in our telecommunications infrastructure", said Zulhelfi Abidin, chief technology officer of Telkom Indonesia, in a press release earlier this year. After extensive testing and checkout, the satellite will be put into service.

SpaceX had used Falcon 9 in May to send up a large communications satellite for Bangladesh from Florida. That flight is scheduled for launch next month from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

SpaceX's next mission is set for launch no earlier than August 23 with the Telstar 18 VANTAGE communications satellite to provide broadcast, enterprise and government communications services over parts of India, China, Mongolia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Ocean region.

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If launch remains set for August 23, liftoff is scheduled for a window opening at 11:33 p.m. EDT (0333 GMT on August 24).

SpaceX's brand new, recyclable Falcon 9 rocket launches again