During an early morning launch, SpaceX successfully deployed the Merah Putih satellite for Southeast Asian telecommunications giant, Telkom Indonesia. The launch was the first to utilise a flight-proven Falcon 9 Block 5 first stage.
The flight proven Falcon 9 lifted off from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 05:18 UTC (01:18 EDT). Following a flawless launch, SpaceX officials confirmed that the Merah Putih satellite had been successfully deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit. Several hours later, Telkom Indonesia confirmed that the satellite was operating nominally under its own power.
The Merah Putih is a geostationary commercial communications satellite built on the SSL 1300 platform for Telkom Indonesia. The satellite carries an all C-band payload and will provide mobile broadband access to Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Merah Putih is expected to remain in service for over 15 years.
Following this morning’s launch, the flight-proven Block 5 booster was successfully recovered touching down gently on the deck of the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship. The Block 5 booster that was used for today’s mission had previously launched the Bangladeshi Bangabandhu-1 geostationary communications satellite on May 11, 2018. The booster is scheduled to be launched a third time later this year. If successful, it will be the first time a Falcon 9 booster has been reused twice.
The next SpaceX launch is currently scheduled for later this month. It will deploy the Telstar 18V / Apstar-5C satellite for Canadian communications provider, Telesat.