SpaceX Falcon 9 launches Indonesian satellite from Cape to geosynchronous transfer orbit

In August 2018, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the 12,800-pound Merah Putih commercial communications satellite — named for the red and white colors of the Indonesian flag — and delivered it to geostationary transfer orbit.

Tuesday afternoon, SpaceX followed suit by launching Merah Putih 2, a second satellite for the Indonesian satellite communications provider Telkomsat.

"The Merah Putih 2 mission will strengthen connectivity over the Indonesian archipelago and will accelerate the deployment of digital infrastructure in Indonesia by providing satellite-based backhaul and enterprise services," Somya Srivastava, a SpaceX structures engineer, said during the company launch broadcast.

Liftoff occurred at 3:11 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The sun-splashed skies represented practically perfect launch conditions: The Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron forecast had predicted greater than 95% odds of "go for launch" weather.

The Falcon 9's first-stage booster logged its 17th mission after previously launching CRS-22, Crew-3, Turksat 5B, Crew-4, CRS-25, Eutelsat HOTBIRD 13G, mPOWER-a, PSN SATRIA and eight Starlink missions, SpaceX reported.

Following stage separation, the booster targeted landing 8 minutes and 37 seconds after liftoff aboard the SpaceX drone ship Just Read the Instructions droneship out on the Atlantic Ocean.

Srivastava said Tuesday's mission marks SpaceX's 275th Falcon 9 booster landing.

"Reusability is super important, as it allows us to re-fly the most expensive parts of the rocket, which in turn drives down the cost of access to space," she said.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Telkomsat Merah Putih 2 satellite soars skyward Tuesday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Telkomsat Merah Putih 2 satellite soars skyward Tuesday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

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One of the rocket's two payload fairing halves logged its 11th mission, while the other fairing half logged its 10th, Srivastava said.

Thales Alenia Space was the prime contractor that designed, built and tested the Telkomsat satellite, which weighs about four tons and should enter operation in April.

Launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Telkomsat HTS 113BT satellite launched at 3:11 p.m. EST Tuesday, February 20th from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The Falcon 9 will deploy the satellite into low-Earth orbit.
Launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Telkomsat HTS 113BT satellite launched at 3:11 p.m. EST Tuesday, February 20th from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The Falcon 9 will deploy the satellite into low-Earth orbit.

For the latest news from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit floridatoday.com/space.

Rick Neale is a Space Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Neale at 321-242-3638 or rneale@floridatoday.com. Twitter/X: @RickNeale1

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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: SpaceX launches Indonesian satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit