SpaceX launches Indonesian satellite on 300th successful Falcon 9 mission (video)

SpaceX just notched another impressive milestone.

A Falcon 9 rocket launched the Merah Putih 2 communications satellite from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station today at 3:11 p.m. EST (2011 GMT), then deployed it into orbit 34.5 minutes later.

It was the 300th successful mission for the workhorse rocket to date, SpaceX noted this afternoon in a post on X.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Merah Putih 2 telecommunications satellite on Feb. 20, 2024. (Image credit: SpaceX)

It was the 17th launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description. That's two shy of the company's reuse record, which it set in December 2023.

The rocket's upper stage, meanwhile, continued powering its way skyward, eventually deploying Merah Putih 2 into geosynchronous transfer orbit on schedule.

Once it's up and running, the 8,800-pound (4,000 kilograms) satellite will provide fast internet service for customers in Indonesia for the next 15 years or so. It will be operated by Telkomsat, a state-owned Indonesian telecom company. 

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket comes back to Earth for a landing on a drone ship at sea after launching the Merah Putih 2 telecommunications satellite on Feb. 20, 2024. (Image credit: SpaceX via X)

Today's launch was the 16th for SpaceX already in 2024. Three of this year's launches came in a 23-hour span over Feb. 14 and Feb. 15, when the company launched the classified USSF-124 mission for the U.S. Space Force, sent the private IM-1 moon-landing mission skyward and lofted a set of its own Starlink satellites.

And the launch cadence could ramp up as 2024 proceeds; SpaceX representatives have said that the company plans to launch 144 orbital missions this year.

The Falcon 9 first launched in June 2010. Eight years later, SpaceX debuted the powerful Falcon Heavy rocket, which now has nine missions under its belt. The company is also working on an even bigger rocket called Starship, which it hopes will make Mars settlement economically feasible.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 3:30 pm ET on Feb. 20 with news of successful launch and rocket landing, then again at 3:48 pm ET with news of satellite deployment, and again at 5:40 pm ET to state that this was the 300th successful Falcon 9 launch to date.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.