SpaceX Successfully Launches Qatar's Es'hail 2 Communication Satellite

Flickr  spacex

Flickr spacex

The Es'hail-2 satellite launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday afternoon. It was also the rocket's 63rd launch since 2010.

SpaceX has scheduled a cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station in early December, and the US Air Force's first third-generation Global Positioning System navigation satellite is set to launch after that. Two firings were planned to put the Es'hail 2 communications satellite into the required elliptical "transfer" orbit 32 minutes after liftoff.

The Es'hail mission is first time in six months SpaceX will use pad 39A.

The failure during the launches is something the flight-proven B1047 to the East and B1046 to the West are planning to overcome by achieving success in orbital missions now as both have already launched Telstar 19V as well as Telkom 4 (Merah Putih) and Bangabandhu-1. After a near-bankruptcy and a string of failures, Musk's company relied on funding from NASA to build Falcon 9.

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The satellite will provide communications for the Middle East and parts of North Africa. Both Es'hail satellites are operated by Qatar's state-owned Es'hailSat telecom venture. And 9 in the title refers to the number of engines in the rocket. The booster landed safely on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship, marking the 31st time SpaceX has successfully recovered their booster after an orbital launch.

To get there, the satellite's on-board propulsion system will be used to raise the low-point of the orbit and maneuver the spacecraft into the proper position to serve the Middle East. The booster launched Thursday was expected to touchdown on the drone ship eight minutes and 16 seconds after liftoff.

SpaceX has five more Falcon 9 rocket launches on the docket for 2018, which would bring its total to a SpaceX-record 22 for the year, if they pull it off.

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