Space X Booster Flies Again - This Time With an Indonesian Satellite

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

With Tuesday's flight, SpaceX's record stands at at 60 successful Falcon 9 launches, with 28 successful booster recoveries, 12 on land and 16 on droneships.

The Falcon 9 with the Block 5 launched from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 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.

SpaceX used its newest style booster for the second time to put a communications satellite into orbit for Indonesia.

The satellite is expected to be in service for 15 or more years. Due to SpaceX's success in this area, it is becoming one of the most valuable venture-backed startups in the US.

The first-stage booster previously soared in May, the first time out the gate for this upgraded rocket.

Such reuse goals are crucial to SpaceX's long-term mission of reducing the cost of space transportation, with an aim to eventually launch a Falcon 9 rocket, recover the booster, and re-launch it within 24 hours, according to Musk, who said in May that could be accomplished as soon as next year. 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 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 rocket, using a first stage that flew in May with the Bangabandhu-1 satellite for Bangladesh, lifted off at 1:18 a.m. SpaceX plans to re-launch a Block 5 rocket on Tuesday just three months after its original flight. Space Systems Loral of Palo Alto, California, built the satellite ahead of schedule, according to Telkom Indonesia. The new satellite will replace Telkom 1, which failed in a mysterious debris-shedding event in geostationary orbit a year ago.

"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.

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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