Published: Sat, November 17, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

SpaceX’ s reusable rocket launches a Qatar satellite

SpaceX’ s reusable rocket launches a Qatar satellite

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at about 3:46 p.m. local time Thursday. In an increasingly routine feat, the booster's first stage fell away and flew itself back to a pinpoint touchdown on an off-shore drone ship, the company's 31st successful recovery. The agency's latest schedule has SpaceX's first demonstration flight slated for January, and the first flight with astronauts on board planned for June.

For SpaceX it is the 18th starting from the beginning of the year.

What is Falcon 9?

Es'hail-2 spacecraft was built by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and will be operated by Qatar-based company Es'hailSat.

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Es'hailSat's first satellite entered service in December 2013 and now provides direct-to-home television content, business communications and other telecommunications services. It will provide business and government sectors with secure communications across the Middle East and North Africa region.

Es'hail-2 also carries two amateur-radio transponders that will facilitate conventional analog ham radio as well as experimental digital communications, including amateur television.

After a final lightning-quick round of computer checks, the slender 229-foot-tall rocket was released from the pad, quickly climbing away under a partly cloudy sky.

The Falcon family of rockets is slowly growing into the most successful reusable booster in history. The booster touched down on the robotic ship about 8.5 minutes after liftoff. This will mark the first ham radio relay in a high geostationary orbit, allowing for one-hop communication over a huge section of the globe. Back then, it was used to send to orbit the Telstar 19 VANTAGE mission. Es'hailSat, established in 2010 in Doha, owns and operates satellites to serve broadcasters, businesses and governments.

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