SpaceX's Falcon 9 launches Indonesian satellite

A commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station blasted off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in April.                  NASA

A commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station blasted off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in April. NASA

It's also the first re-flight of the company's new, recyclable Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, which had its first launch back in May.

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.

For Telkom Indonesia, the launch restores the state-owned operator's fleet back to three satellites after one of its satellites exploded in orbit last August.

SpaceX has tried to advance that reusability campaign by making as-yet unsuccessful attempts to recover the Falcon 9's nose cone, or fairing, after West Coast launches.

The launch marked the first time that the Falcon 9's new "Block 5" booster had been recycled following the improved rocket's maiden launch on May 11.

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Complex 40 launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Aug. 7, 2018.

Next up for SpaceX is launch of Telesat's Telstar 18 VANTAGE communications station from Cape Canaveral around August 17, following by launch of an Earth-observation satellite for Argentina. The Merah Putih satellite is ready to be deployed.

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In conjunction with the re-launch, SpaceX announced plans to shorten re-launch times for the Block 5 booster to less than 24 hours by 2019, which would further solidify SpaceX's dominance of the private space flight market - dominance that has already pushed Russian competitors completely out of the market and now threatens to lap the technology of the last remnants of Chinese competition.

"We are going to be very rigorous in taking this rocket apart and confirming our design assumptions to be confident that it is indeed able to be reused without being taken apart", Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder and CEO, had said during a conference call with reporters, referring to the first Block 5 booster. 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.

Launch commentator Lauren Lyons said the booster would be prepared for its third launch later this year.

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. Space Systems Loral of Palo Alto, California, built the satellite ahead of schedule, according to Telkom Indonesia.

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.

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).

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