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SpaceX Just Launched A Rocket With A Critical Reused Part

SpaceX Just Launched A Rocket With A Critical Reused Part

SpaceX sent Indonesia's Merah Putih telecommunications satellite into orbit tonight, marking the first reuse of its new-generation Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket booster. 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 second stage stayed in orbit and deployed a communications satellite that will provide service to Indonesia and other areas of South and Southeast Asia.

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.

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Complex 40 launch pad as seen through a time exposure in Cape Canaveral, Fla., early Tuesday.

In conjunction with the re-launch, SpaceX announced plans to shorten re-launch times for the Block 5 booster to less than 24 hours by 2019, which would further solidify SpaceX's dominance of the private space flight market - dominance that has already pushed Russian competitors completely out of the market and now threatens to lap the technology of the last remnants of Chinese competition.

Today's launch lofted the Merah Putih satellite to a high geostationary transfer orbit.

With its successful landing, Falcon 9 may well go into space for the third time. Its first launch was in May 2018.

"The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years", SpaceX said. The third reuse will pave the way for the 4th, 5th, 10th, 50th ... reflight of individual Falcon 9 boosters, an absolutely integral requirement for SpaceX to achieve its ultimate goals of sustainably colonizing the solar system - starting with Mars - and thus "backing up" humanity.

REUSE, REUSE, REUSE. This launch is the first to employ a reused Block 5 - the first stage of the rocket.

"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.

He said the Block 5's first stage booster is created to fly 10 times "with no scheduled refurbishment". The new telecom craft was built by SSL in Palo Alto, California.

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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