Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

SpaceX relaunches the final Falcon 9 rocket design

SmallSat Express WATCH LIVE: SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launch From Cape Canaveral Air Force Station |
Sandy Nunez | 07 August, 2018, 16:25

The two-stage "Block 5" Falcon 9 launched at 1:18 a.m. EDT (0518 GMT) today (Aug. 7) from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, successfully lofting an Indonesian telecommunications satellite to 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.

Merah Putih, formerly called Telkom-4, replaces Telkom-1, bringing coverage to Indonesia, India and other parts of Asia to expand broadband and telephony services.

However, Musk admitted that this is likely to be a major challenge, noting that "there's only so much work you could even do in one day, and a bunch of it consists of transporting the rocket from its landing site back to the launch site, mounting a new satellite on the rocket and loading propellant".

The Block 5 rocket or Falcon 9's first stage booster also re-landed successfully on one of the company's drone ships "Of Course I Still Love" parked a few hundred miles east of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic.

It was only the fourth flight of an upgraded block 5 booster since the rocket's debut in May and the first launch and recovery of a previously flown block 5 - the same stage that helped launch a Bangladeshi satellite during its maiden flight three months ago.

With the aid of grid fins, rocket thrust and four landing legs, the first stage touched down on SpaceX's landing barge around eight minutes into the mission.

Maria Sakkari of Greece delivered thrilling encore performance
"I woke up and I was still exhausted from yesterday, but she was very good today", said Sakkari, who incurred 34 unforced errors. Sakkari converted six of her eight break points in the match, and hammered 21 winners, three more than the 38-year-old Williams.

But SpaceX engineers needed to actually make sure that was true, that after its first use Block 5 would be ready to get out there again.

Around the same time, the Falcon 9's upper stage shut down and entered a preliminary orbit before a almost 20-minute coast across the Atlantic. If SpaceX has its way, this won't be the last mission for this Block 5, either.

Update 1:50 AM ET: Merah Putih is in position. The satellite will provide Internet, telephone and cellular backhaul services, according to SSL.

With the third reuse now explicitly on the table for B1046 "later this year", Falcon 9 has broken a two-launch ceiling that long loomed over its older predecessors. That flight is scheduled for launch next month from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

A flight readiness review Monday approved the continuation of final launch preps for Parker Solar Probe, which will fly closer to the sun than any previous mission.