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

It's also the first re-flight of the company's new, recyclable Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, which had its first launch back in May.

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SpaceX used its newest style booster for a second time to put a communications satellite into orbit for Indonesia. SpaceX is striving to lower launch costs through rocket recycling.

In the tiny hours of Tuesday morning, SpaceX launched an Indonesian satellite in its 15th flight this year. The rocket's first stage returned to earth, landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Falcon 9 Block 5 and SpaceX's Crew Dragon are destined to be used for launching astronauts to the space station, starting as early as next April.

"Ironically, we need to take it apart to confirm that it does not need to be taken apart", Musk said during a May 10 call with reporters.

Liftoff came on time at 1:19 a.m. ET Tuesday (10:19 p.m. PT Monday) after a trouble-free countdown at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

He said the Block 5's first stage booster is created to fly 10 times "with no scheduled refurbishment".

The satellite is expected to reach its orbit at about 32,000 kilometers above sea level within the next 11 days before its full operation in the third week of September. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has called Block 5 "the most reliable rocket ever built".

The Merah Putih satellite launched Tuesday will provide C-band telecommunications services over Indonesia and India. 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.

"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. That flight is scheduled for launch next month from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

ULA plans to launch a NASA probe that will head to the sun's atmosphere for a first-of-its-kind mission.

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