That marks the second successful launch and retrieval for this particular model, which had previously launched just under three months ago, in May 2018.
Keeping up a run of middle-of-the-night launches from Cape Canaveral, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket powered by a recycled first stage booster climbed into orbit early Tuesday with the Indonesian Merah Putih communications satellite.
"The satellite is expected to have a service lifetime of 15 or more years", SpaceX said. Just nine minutes later, the rocket's first stage made a successful landing on the "Of course I still love you' drone ship aba coast, according to CNBC". Due to SpaceX's success in this area, it is becoming one of the most valuable venture-backed startups in the US.
The number "3" may not immediately feel significant, but in the case of Falcon 9, the third reuse of a booster has always remained out of reach for older versions of the rocket, walled off by the exponentially greater cost and effort required to refurbish non-Block 5 rockets after their first reuse.
Not so for SpaceX, which Monday relaunched and retrieved its block 5 Falcon 9 rocket for the first time.
He continued to say that the Block 5's first stage booster had been created to fly 10 times "with no scheduled refurbishment" and with "moderate scheduled maintenance", ultimately being capable of 100 missions. After the vehicle landed on one of SpaceX's drone ships on completion of its flight, the company did its inspection and refurbishment over the last three months to get it ready for flight again. Shortly after the launch, Musk told Ars Technica, "We are going to be very rigorous in taking this rocket apart and confirming our design assumptions to be confident that it is indeed able to be reused without taking it apart".
The 230-foot Falcon 9 lifted off for the first time back on May 11, lifting Bangladesh's first communications satellite to orbit from Kennedy Space Center.
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. The satellite is owned by PT Telcom, the largest provider of telecommunications services in Indonesia. The new telecom craft was built by SSL in Palo Alto, California. The new satellite will service Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
"Satellite plays a vital role in our telecommunications infrastructure", said Zulhelfi Abidin, Telkom's chief technology officer.
ULA plans to launch a NASA probe that will head to the sun's atmosphere for a first-of-its-kind mission.
APT Satellite of Hong Kong has an agreement to use capacity on Telstar 18 VANTAGE, which is also known as Apstar 5C.
SpaceX only had a two-hour launch window that opened at 1:18 am EST Tuesday in which to complete the mission.