Page Nav





SpaceX launches Indonesian comsat with 'used' booster

SpaceX launches Indonesian comsat with 'used' booster CBSN × ...

SpaceX launches Indonesian comsat with 'used' booster


A time exposure captures the fiery ascent of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasting off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station early Tuesday as seen from nearby Merritt Island. On board was a powerful Indonesian communications satellite.

SpaceX launched the first previously-flown "block 5" version of its Falcon 9 rocket early Tuesday, sending an Indonesian communications satellite into space and successfully recovering the first stage booster with a pinpoint landing on an offshore droneship.

It was only the fourth flight of an upgraded block 5 booster since the rocket's debut in May and the first launch and recovery of a previously flown block 5 -- the same stage that helped launch a Bangladeshi satellite during its maiden flight three months ago.< /p>

The block 5 is the rocket SpaceX founder Elon Musk is counting on to launch astronauts to the International Space Station starting next year, the centerpiece of the company's drive to lower launch costs while improving reliability. With Tuesday's flight, SpaceX's record stands at at 60 successful Falcon 9 launches, with 28 successful booster recoveries, 12 on land and 16 on droneships.

The primary goal of Tuesday's flight was to boost the Merah Putih -- "Red and White" -- communications satellite into orbit for PT Telkom, the largest provider of telecommunications services in Indonesia. The name refers to the red and while colors of Indonesia's flag.


Liftoff, from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This was SpaceX 's 15th launch so far this year and its 60th of a Falcon 9 rocket.

The 12,800-pound satellite, built by SSL, features 60 C-band transponders to provide mobile services across Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

The mission got underway at 1:18 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) when the Falcon 9's nine Merlin 1D engines ignited and throttled up to full thrust, producing a brilliant plume of fiery exhaust that instantly turned cooling water into billowing clouds of steam.

After a final lightning-fast series of computer checks, the 229-foot-tall rocket was released from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, quickly accelerating skyward atop 1.7 million pounds of thrust.

With its fiery exhaust plume visible for dozens of miles around, the Falcon 9 smoothly arced away to the east over the Atlantic Ocean, putting on a spectacular overnight display for area residents and tourists who stayed up late to catch a glimpse of the show.

The first s tage powered the vehicle out of the dense lower atmosphere, shutting down as planned about two-and-a-half-minutes after liftoff. The stage then fell away to begin its trip back to Earth while the primary mission continued on the power of a single Merlin engine in the rocket's second stage.

A few minutes after separation, three of the first stage's nine engines re-ignited to slow the booster for entry back into the discernible atmosphere, using four titanium "grid fins" at the top of the rocket to maintain its orientation and trajectory. 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.


An artist's impression of the Merah Puti h communications satellite in orbit with its solar arrays and antennas deployed. The satellite is owned by PT Telcom, the largest provider of telecommunications services in Indonesia. The new satellite will service Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

Seconds before touchdown, four legs deployed and the rocket settled to an on-target landing. After it is hauled back to Cape Canaveral, it will be inspected and, if no major problems are found, it will go into the stockpile of available block 5 stages ready for use in downstream missions.

The first stage landed right about the same time the second stage engine shut down after reaching the planned preliminary "parking" orbit. A second engine firing was carried out 26 minutes after launch to finish the job.

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 equat or. Satellites at such geosynchronous altitudes take 24 hours to complete one orbit and thus appear stationary in the sky.

Merah Putih's on-board propulsion system will be used to circularize the orbit at the intended 22,300-mile altitude and to maneuver it to its designated operational location at 108 degrees east longitude. After extensive testing and checkout, the satellite will be put into service.

Next up for SpaceX is launch of Telesat's Telstar 18 VANTAGE communications station from Cape Canaveral around Aug. 17, following by launch of an Earth-observation satellite for Argentina. That flight is scheduled for launch next month from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • William Harwood

    Bill Harwood has been covering the U.S. space program full-time since 1984, first as Cape Canaveral bureau chief for United Press International and now as a consultant for CBS News. He covered 129 space shuttle missions, every interplanetary flight since Voyager 2's flyby of Neptune and scores of commercial and military launches. Based at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Harwood is a devoted amateur astronomer and co-author of "Comm Check: The Final Flight of Shuttle Columbia."

Featured in SciTech

  • "How to Break Up With Your Phone" author on practical ways to unplug

    Yes, you should probably delete Instagram, says author Catherine Price

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admits "breach of trust"

    Zuckerberg acknowledges there was "a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us"

  • What you need to know about Facebook & Cambridge Analytica

    Together, they're responsible for the personal data of 50 million people being pulled from Facebook




Latest From "60 Minutes"

  • Jennifer Lawrence's unconventional journey

  • When hospitals become targets in Syria's civil war

  • The Leaning Tower of San Francisco

  • Inside al Qaeda

  • Matchmaking for zoo animals

  • Reforming solitary confinement at Pelican Bay

  • Spectacular revelations courtesy of Hubble

  • Saving rhino with helicopters

  • The history and future of Confederate monuments

  • The prodigy whose "first language" is Mozart

  •  Play Video

    Gates says he committed crimes with Manafort

  •  Play Video

    An ode to Casablanca

  •  Play Video

    Trump reimposes sanctions on Iran

  •  Play Video

    California wildfire largest in state history

  •  Play Video

    Mollie T ibbetts' parents speak out

Previous Next

Popular On CBS News

  • Missing Iowa student's dad believes she's with someone she "trusted"

  • Explosion near Italy airport kills 2, injures dozens

  • Bystander who shot gunman at peace rally a "hero," police say

  • Woman helps man short on cash, finds out he's Keith Urban

  • Apparent drone attack in Venezuela highlights growing concern for U.S.

  •  52 Photos

    Deadly wildfire burns Northern California

  •  108 Photos

    Summer rock

  •  26 Photos

    Longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century

  •  86 Photos

    Notable deaths in 2018

  •  41 Photos

    Tom Cruise movies, ranked

Previous Next

Latest From CBS News

  • AP: Court halted deportation for refugee now charged in cop shooting

  • 2018 primary election: Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington

  • Paul Manafort trial day 6: Rick Gates testifies -- live updates

  • Potential impeachment articles read against justices

  • Dead fetus found in airplane toilet at LaGuardia Airport

  • Police officer jumps off highway overpass to aid boy

CBS News On Roku

Source: Google News Indonesia | Netizen 24 Indonesia

No comments