Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully re-launches rocket

A commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station blasted off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in April.                  NASA

A commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station blasted off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in April. NASA

The Falcon 9 with the Block 5 launched from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The first stage was also the first of SpaceX's upgraded line of "Falcon 9 Block 5" rockets, featuring improvements to make the vehicles more reliable and easier to reuse. In March 2017, the company was able to successfully relaunch its block 4 booster rocket that had previously launched a year earlier.

SpaceX has tried to advance that reusability campaign by making as-yet unsuccessful attempts to recover the Falcon 9's nose cone, or fairing, after West Coast launches. The spacecraft - whose name translates as "red and white", a reference to the colors of the Indonesian flag - will become part of the network run by PT Telkom Indonesia, the nation's largest telecommunications provider.

Liftoff, from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Tuesday's launch was the third SpaceX mission in 16 days, and the company's 15th launch of the year overall.

A 65-minute launch window opens up at 3:33 a.m. on Saturday.

Update 1:50 AM ET: Merah Putih is in position.

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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 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.

An artist's impression of the Merah Putih communications satellite in orbit with its solar arrays and antennas deployed.

The Merah Putih satellite launched Tuesday will provide C-band telecommunications services over Indonesia and India. The new satellite will service Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

With the aid of grid fins, rocket thrust and four landing legs, the first stage touched down on SpaceX's landing barge around eight minutes into the mission. Though SpaceX hasn't released much about what they found when they did take the Block 5 apart, the quick turnaround between launches indicates that Block 5 seems to be living up to that promise.

The first stage landed right about the same time the second stage engine shut down after reaching the planned preliminary "parking" orbit.

The rocket, using a first stage that flew in May with the Bangabandhu-1 satellite for Bangladesh, lifted off at 1:18 a.m. Another predawn Falcon 9 flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on July 25 delivered 10 Iridium voice and data relay payloads to orbit.

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