In 2008, SpaceX's Falcon 1 was the first privately-developed liquid fuel rocket to reach the Earth's orbiot and this launch was followed up with the Falcon 1 flight 5, the first of its kind to deliver a commercial satellite to our planet's orbit.
Less than three months later, at 1:18 a.m. Tuesday, the same first-stage booster fired nine Merlin engines to roar into darkness from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40 with 1.7 million pounds of thrust. Merah Putih translates into "red and white" and is a reference to the colors on Indonesia's national flag.
The Merah Putih satellite will provide C-band telecommunications services over Indonesia and India. The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years, ' as stated in a mission description.
The rocket's first stage made a successful landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship.
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.
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.
This is not the first time SpaceX has successfully relaunched one of its rockets, but it is the first time that the uber-reusable "block 5" rocket blasted off. Uncrewed tests of the full human-rated launch system still have to be completed, but each successful Block 5 launch gives NASA (and SpaceX) greater confidence.
The Merah Putih satellite then was released into an elliptical transfer orbit, the normal first step in getting a communications satellite into its intended orbit 22,300 miles above the equator.
"Satellite plays a vital role in our telecommunications infrastructure", said Zulhelfi Abidin, Telkom's chief technology officer.
SpaceX's next mission is set for launch no earlier than August 23 with the Telstar 18 VANTAGE communications satellite to provide broadcast, enterprise and government communications services over parts of India, China, Mongolia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Ocean region.
SpaceX had used Falcon 9 in May to send up a large communications satellite for Bangladesh from Florida.
APT Satellite of Hong Kong has an agreement to use capacity on Telstar 18 VANTAGE, which is also known as Apstar 5C.