SpaceX launches, lands Falcon rocket that could fly a third time

Falcon 9 Iridium-1 launch

Falcon 9 Iridium-1 launch

As the satellite headed to space, the first stage used grid fins and thrusters to land on a floating ship, almost 400 miles off the Florida cost.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket rises into the night sky to send the Merah Putih communications satellite into orbit. "The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years", SpaceX representatives wrote in a mission description.

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

But Tuesday's launch of an Indonesian communications satellite was the first to re-fly an upgraded Falcon 9, known as Block 5, that is created to launch 10 or more times.

Due to the success of this landing, which was the 28th booster that the company has ever recovered, Falcon 9 may go into space for the third time. After the vehicle landed on one of SpaceX's drone ships on completion of its flight, the company did its inspection and refurbishment over the last three months to get it ready for flight again. SpaceX founder Elon Musk's goal is for swift launch turnarounds using the same rocket, even twice within 24 hours.

Musk had said the Block 5's first stage booster is created to fly 10 times "with no scheduled refurbishment" and with "moderate scheduled maintenance", Block 5 first stages could be capable of 100 missions.

Just by looking at the massive reduction in time, we can assume SpaceX has been working on the reusability of the blocks with good success.

Update 1:50 AM ET: Merah Putih is in position. Built by Lockheed Martin, the satellite was 18 years old, operating three years past its design life. The new satellite will service Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

Merah Putih will be located at 108 degrees east longitude. The satellite will provide Internet, telephone and cellular backhaul services, according to SSL.

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.

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.

SpaceX is planning around 30 missions in 2018, up from a record of 18 in 2017.

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