SpaceX Deploys a Potent Communications Satellite for Indonesia, in its Sixteenth Flight This Year

Tuesday saw the launch of SpaceX’s 16th Falcon 9 rocket of the year, carrying a potent Indonesian communications satellite into orbit.

At 3:11 p.m. EST, the Falcon 9 rocket launched from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, using a first stage on its 17th flight.

Eight and a half minutes after launch, the first stage successfully launched the rocket out of the dense lower atmosphere and disintegrated, allowing it to land on an offshore landing barge. After 25 minutes, the second stage of the mission completed its ascent into orbit, freeing the Merah Putih 2 satellite to fly by itself.

“Red and white” in reference to the Indonesian flag, the $240 million Merah Putih satellite is operated by the state-owned Telkomsat. Thales Alenia Space manufactured the satellite. It is intended to use Ku-band and C-band transponders to cover the entirety of Indonesia, enabling data rates of up to 32 terabytes per second.

SpaceX has launched the second Telkomsat data relay station, with a 15-year design life.

Tuesday’s launch was SpaceX’s sixteenth Falcon 9 launch of the year and its thirty-first since the rocket’s launch in 2010. As of right now, the business has completed 275 first-stage recoveries successfully, the last 201 consecutively. If the weather and hardware cooperate, SpaceX plans to launch over 140 rockets this year.

Before the end of the month, the business plans to launch two more Starlink flights, bringing the total number of broadband data relay stations launched to date to around 5,900.

This will prepare the way for the March 1 launch of Crew-8, a Russian crew and three NASA astronauts, to the International Space Station. The fifth mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule “Endeavour” is scheduled, setting a new record for the company’s fleet of ferry ships.

Crew-7 commander Jasmin Moghbeli, astronaut Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency, astronaut Satoshi Furukawa of Japan, and cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov will be replaced by Matthew Dominick, Crew-8 commander, Michael Barratt, Jeanette Epps, and cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin. In August of last year, they were sent to the outpost.

In order to facilitate the launch of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying experienced cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, guest flier Marina Vasilevskaya from Belarus, and NASA veteran Tracy Dyson, Moghbeli and her crewmates intend to return to Earth around March 8.

On April 2, Novitskiy, Vasilevskaya, and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara will all return to Earth. The Soyuz MS-24/70S spacecraft that transported O’Hara, Oleg Kononenko, and Nikolai Chub to the station in September of last year will be utilized by them.

After spending a full year in orbit, Kononenko, Chub, and Dyson will return to Earth in September on a Novitskiy-supplied Soyuz MS-25/71S spacecraft.

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