SpaceX Re-Launches 'Block 5' Rocket for 1st Time, Nails Landing Again

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In the tiny hours of Tuesday morning, SpaceX launched an Indonesian satellite in its 15th flight this year.

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.

B1046's second suborbital jaunt and landing aboard drone ship Of Course I Still Love You will nearly undoubtedly be a turning point in the future history of SpaceX.

SpaceX has successfully landed the booster on the Of Course I Still Love You barge.

This was the first time that SpaceX reused one of its new powerful Block 5 boosters - the final upgrade of the Falcon 9 that is supposed to be able to go to space and back for 100 times. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has called Block 5 "the most reliable rocket ever built". The Merah Putih satellite is ready to be deployed.

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.

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But it was the first time SpaceX demonstrated reuse of a Block 5-generation booster, which the company plans to be its workhorse in the coming years, until a new, super-powerful rocket dubbed the BFR is ready for service. If SpaceX has its way, this won't be the last mission for this Block 5, either.

With three months between the Bangabandhu and Merah Putih missions, and a record turnaround time of two months, SpaceX has its work cut out.

SSL completed construction of the Merah Putih satellite ahead of schedule, according to Telkom Indonesia, also known as PT Telkom. The spacecraft will be positioned in geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator at 108 degrees east longitude.

But for SpaceX aficionados, the most exciting part of this launch is that we've seen part of it before.

The mission got underway at 1:18 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) when the Falcon 9's nine Merlin 1D engines ignited and throttled up to full thrust, producing a brilliant plume of fiery exhaust that instantly turned cooling water into billowing clouds of steam. After extensive testing and checkout, the satellite will be put into service. That flight is scheduled for launch next month from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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