Indonesian communications satellite deployed in orbit by SpaceX
07 August, 2018, 16:23 | Author: Kelly Sanders
"The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years", SpaceXsaid.
SpaceX conducted its first relaunch of the Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket August 7, successfully delivering a communications satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit for Telkom Indonesia.
Launching at 1:18 a.m. ET, the flight carried communications satellite Merah Putih, which is named for the red and white colors of the Indonesian flag. The new satellite will replace Telkom 1, which failed in a mysterious debris-shedding event in geostationary orbit previous year. A final single-engine burn put the brakes on for landing on the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" stationed several hundred miles east of Cape Canaveral.
The landing marked the 28th successful recovery of a stage one booster by SpaceX.
SpaceX has checked off another reusability milestone, re-flying the latest version of its Falcon 9 rocket for the first time ever. In March 2017, the company was able to successfully relaunch its block 4 booster rocket that had previously launched a year earlier. SpaceX has flown two more "Block 5" cores since the first mission, but Tuesday marks the first time that the same core was used again.
The first stage landed right about the same time the second stage engine shut down after reaching the planned preliminary "parking" orbit.
The company has big plans to use the Block 5 to enable more ambitious turnaround times.
The upgrades to the Falcon 9 Block 5 include a beefed up heat shield, retractable landing legs and other modifications to make the first stage simpler to reuse, reducing the refurbishment needed between missions. 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.
An artist's impression of the Merah Putih communications satellite in orbit with its solar arrays and antennas deployed. The new telecom craft was built by SSL in Palo Alto, California.
The satellite launch event was live streamed via Telkom's YouTube channel and Usee TV television. The new satellite will service Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
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