SpaceX launches Es'hail-2 satellite, ties launch record

Pablo Tucker
November 18, 2018

Musk's company used a Falcon 9 rocket to send a Qatari communications satellite into space on Thursday afternoon, marking the SpaceX's 63rd launch since 2010.

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

The Japanese-built Es'hail-2 satellite is the second in a series of spacecraft created to provide satellite TV and secure communication services across the Middle East and North Africa. Es'hail-1 was a joint mission, and its services are shared by Es'hailSat and French telecommunications operator Eutelsat.

Es'hail-2 "features multi-transponder Ka-band capacity, providing business and government sectors with secure communications across the Middle East and North Africa region", SpaceX representatives wrote in a mission press kit.

The Es'hail 2 satellite was successfully deployed into orbit above Earth's equator 32 minutes after launch.

The Es-hail-2 launch was scheduled starting at 3:46PM EST today, though there was a backup date scheduled for tomorrow in the even that something went wrong.

SpaceX did not attempt to recover the payload fairing - the protective nose cone that surrounds spacecraft during launch - today, because its net-equipped boat, Mr. Steven, is on the West Coast.

Thursday's launch was powered by a previously used rocket booster.

A successful landing would be the second for this particular first stage, which also helped launch the Telstar 19 Vantage satellite this past July. This brings SpaceX's number of successful landings up to 31.

This launch marked Falcon 9's 18th successful launch this year, equalizing the record the private rocket launch company made last year.

Getting Es'hail-2 to its proper place in geostationary orbit requires a series of orbital maneuvers, which started a little more than a half-hour after launch with a second-stage engine burn and satellite deployment.

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