Another SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket shot through the skies, through the atmosphere, and into the vastness of space, this past Thursday afternoon, from Florida’s Space Coast, carrying the Japanese engineered Es’hail 2.
This satellite will be used to relay various data services and commercial video across the Middle East and assist the Qatar military, amplifying their connectivity.
At 20:46 GMT, Thursday, on a cloudy day, the 229-foot tall rocket ignited its nine Merlin engines from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center making it the first launch since May.
The launch from pad 39A shot the Falcon 9 with its important Es’hail cargo towards 22,000 miles, right above the equator, or approximately 36,000 kilometers.
Another Successful SpaceX Mission
The SpaceX rocket generated well over 1.7 million pounds of thrust before the kerosene-fueled booster stage engines shut-off completely, two-and-a-half minutes after lift-off.
The boosters themselves departed from rocket and made their way toward the SpaceX’s drone ship and landing platform, “Of Course I Still Love You.” The ship was parked a few hundred miles east of the launch in the Atlantic.
A proud staple of the SpaceX team as the satellite moved towards its intended destination, the 15-story booster stage made its way back down to earth with its aerodynamic fins as three of the rocket engines ignited to slow down the stage's re-entry. During the booster’s final moments of its return, the engined reignited to, allowing the four legs of the booster to be deployed at the base of the rocket.
Another major feat for Elon Musk and his team, the successful booster landing opens the door for it to be used again for another mission, making it the 31st time the company has recovered a booster after a launch.
The rocket itself hit its targeted orbit 32 minutes after lift-off, with the Es’hail 2 separating from its counterpart over South African and operating in full health.
Looking back at the sun from upper stage & Falcon 9 ? landed on drone ship Of Course I Still Love You pic.twitter.com/sg3FXIDQJL— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 15, 2018
Qatar's First Satellite
Built by the Japanese Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, the 11,700 pound or 5,300-kilogram satellite hosts advanced telecommunications technology as well as “sophisticated anti-jamming capabilities” that will benefit the Qatari government and army. The Es’hail 2 will be situated 26 degrees east longitude over the equator.
The SpaceX team has four more launches scheduled before the end of 2018, with the next one set as early as Monday in California.