Falcon 9 Block 5 variant makes its debut flight during the Bangabandhu-1 mission in May 2018. Photo credit: Michael Seeley / We Report Space
CAPE CANAVERAL: On August 7, 2018 at 1:18 AM local time, SpaceX Booster Number 46 lifted the Merah Putih satellite to orbit for Telkom Indonesia. While this is the fifteenth time that SpaceX has re-flown a first-stage booster, this is the first time that they have re-flown their new Block 5 version of the booster. The booster originally launched Bangabandhu-1 on May 11, 2018. The 88 days to recover, refurbish, and re-fly the booster is significantly faster than the refurbishment times for previous versions.
The first booster to be re-flown was Core #21. This was known as a “Full Thrust” version of the booster and is now two generations old. That booster originally flew on April 8, 2016 for CRS-8 and then re-flew on March 30, 2017 for SES-10, a period of 356 days. Eight more of the Full Thrust boosters would re-fly, ranging from 160 to 620 days with an average time to refurbish of 308 days.
The next version of the booster, known as Block 4 had five cores that were re-flown. The average ...