CANAVERAL Air FORCS STATION, FL – SpaceX successfully relaunched the first 1st
recycled and upgraded Block 5 model of their workhorse Falcon 9 booster that
delivered an Indonesian comsat sailing to orbit overnight this morning,
Tuesday, Aug. 7, from the Florida Space Coast.
minutes later the Falcon 9 first stage made a pinpoint rocket assisted re-landing
on a droneship waiting hundreds of mile offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Overall
this counted as the second launch and second ocean landing for the Block 5
of the Merah Putih telecommunications satellite took place
right at the opening of the two-hour long launch window in the dead of night at
1:18 a.m. EDT (0518 GMT) Tuesday, Aug. 7, from seaside Space Launch Complex-40
on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.
The rocket put on a fabulous sky show that
delighted onlookers from near and far for many minutes due to the nearly complete absence of view
technical glitches were encountered during the terminal countdown for the two
stage 229-foot tall (70-meter) Falcon 9
successful soft landing set up the possibility of a first of its kind third
launch for this particular Block 5 Falcon 9 first stage – and counts as another
major milestone towards SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s dream of rocket recycling and
slashing launch costs to a fraction of what’s been possible heretofore.
Block 5 is also the Falcon 9 version that will launch US and partner astronauts
to space aboard the Crew Dragon commercial crew spaceship sometime in 2019 – via
a development effort funded by NASA.
first commercial crew astronauts for the Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner were
announced by NASA on Aug. 3.
middle-of-the-night blastoff of the Falcon 9 carried the Merah Putih telecommunications satellite
to a geostationary transfer orbit for the nation of Indonesia.
just as planned and was deployed 32 minutes after liftoff.
photos of the rocket at the pad as well as the prerequisite hot fire test last
Falcon 9 launches and carried out 28 successful booster recoveries – 12 by land
and 16 by sea on ocean platform drone ships off both the Atlantic and Pacific
This was the 15th flight of a previously flown rocket booster.
The satellite was launched to geostationary transfer
orbit and eventually an altitude some 22,000 miles (36,000 km) above Earth.
successfully completed a static hot fire test today, Aug. 2, of the Falcon 9
booster at pad 40.
Falcon 9 booster in just two and a half weeks.
It also counts as the 15th SpaceX launch of 2018.
close prelaunch view of nose cone encapsulating Merah
Putih telecomsat atop used SpaceX Falcon 9 erect
on pad 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
launched as the first stage of the very first Block 5 model that launched the
Bangabandhu-1 comsat only 4 months ago on
May 11, 2018.
The booster looked sooty in appearance during remote camera set up
at pad 40. See images herein.
close prelaunch view of landing legs at base of used
SpaceX Falcon 9 erect on pad 40 for Merah
Putih comsat launch Aug. 7, 2018 on Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Credit: Ken
SpaceX carried out the Atlantic ocean landing on the OCISLY drone
ship platform some 400 miles (60 km) off the East Coast of Florida.
The 5800 kg (12,780
pound) satellite was built by SSL (formerly Space
Systems/Loral) in Palo Alto, Ca., and completed ahead of schedule for Telkom
Indonesia, also known as PT Telkom.
Merah Putih will be located at 108 degrees East
longitude. “It is an all C-band
satellite that enhances both internet and telephone service for populations in
remote regions and will be used to offload backhaul for cellular service,” says
The Merah Putih
spacecraft built by SSL. Credit: SSL
as a replacement for Telkom-1 which mysteriously failed in orbit in August 2017.
The new name of Merah Putih is derived from the red and while
colors of the Indonesian flag.
The satellite has a design lifetime of 16 years or more.
It will serve the 17,000 islands of the Indonesian archipelago as
well India and other parts of South and
Southeast Asia. Satellites for the
“backbone” of telecommunications in Indonesia, along with other technologies,
such as submarine cable.
“Satellite plays a vital role in our
telecommunications infrastructure,” said Mr. Zulhelfi Abidin, Chief
Technology Officer of Telkom, in a statement.
“SSL has been an excellent spacecraft supplier
and has completed the satellite construction ahead of schedule. We look forward
to traveling to Florida to see the satellite launch later this summer.”
The satellite is based on the SSL
1300 series bus. which provides the
flexibility to support a broad range of applications and technology advances.
It is equipped with 60 C-band transponders. 36 transponders will
be used in Indonesia and the rest will be used for the Indian market.
“Merah Putih, which was completed ahead of schedule, will replace Telkom-1, at
108 degrees East, where it will expand on Telkom’s coverage to serve new
markets. Its all C-band payload will enhance both internet and telephone
service for populations in remote regions and offload backhaul for cellular
During Tuesday’s launch the rocket’s
first and second stages were fueled with liquid oxygen and RP-1 propellants and
the countdown led to ignition of all nine Merlin 1D first stage engines generating some 1.7 million
pounds of thrust at pad 40.
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and
Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human
spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
journalists pose prelaunch at sunset with SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching the
nations Merah Putih comsat Aug. 7,
2018 on pad
40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Credit: Ken