SpaceX successfully retrieves block 5 Falcon 9, paving the way for another relaunch

The first-ever successful relaunch of block 5 Falcon 9 rocket puts SpaceX in the perfect position to use it for a third time.

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Jackson Ryan was CNET's science editor, and a multiple award-winning one at that. Earlier, he'd been a scientist, but he realized he wasn't very happy sitting at a lab bench all day. Science writing, he realized, was the best job in the world -- it let him tell stories about space, the planet, climate change and the people working at the frontiers of human knowledge. He also owns a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters.
Jackson Ryan
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They say "third times a charm", but that expression is usually reserved for success after failure.

Not so for SpaceX , which Monday relaunched and retrieved its block 5 Falcon 9 rocket for the first time. That marks the second successful launch and retrieval for this particular model, which had previously launched just under three months ago, in May 2018. 

This is not the first time SpaceX has successfully relaunched one of its rockets, but it is the first time that the uber-reusable "block 5" rocket blasted off. This rocket was used to place Indonesia's Merah Putih satellite into orbit and that payload was offloaded 32 minutes after launch, heralding the mission a complete success.

The reusable stage one booster touched down on the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" approximately nine minutes after launch. 

That now paves the way for SpaceX to launch the block 5 rocket for a third successive launch -- which would be the first time in history a booster was used three times. In March 2017, the company was able to successfully relaunch its block 4 booster rocket that had previously launched a year earlier. Although the rocket had to be torn down and refurbished between flights, there's been some clear improvement in that turnaround time for the block 5.

In the future Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, aims to get those turnaround times to as low as a single day.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launches Dragon to orbit (photos)

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Correction, Aug. 7, 10:46 a.m. PT: The headline incorrectly said the relaunch paves the way for a third relaunch. The next one would be the second relaunch. 

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