SpaceX' s reusable rocket launches a Qatar satellite

James Marshall
November 17, 2018

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 Falcon 9 used for this mission was previously used earlier this year to launch the Telstar 19 VANTAGE satellite, making the entire event all the more notable. SpaceX noted that it may be used for the third flight.

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. After a near-bankruptcy and a string of failures, Musk's company relied on funding from NASA to build Falcon 9.

While important to SpaceX's business model, booster recoveries remain a strictly secondary objective.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket goes vertical on NASA's Launchpad 39A hours before its Es'hail-2 mission on November 15 2018.

Es'hail-2 was built by Mitsubishi Electric, representing a rare win on the worldwide market for a company whose main satellite customer has been the Japanese government. Es'hail 2 features high-speed Ku- and Ka-band communications services. About 32 minutes later, the rocket successfully deployed its payload, the Es'hail-2 communications satellite, into an elliptical geostationary transfer orbit. Both Es'hail satellites are operated by Qatar's state-owned Es'hailSat telecom venture. The only break from SpaceX's recent routine was the fact that the launch came during daylight hours, at 3:46 p.m. ET (12:46 p.m. PT).

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.

Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket capable of re-flight. The Es'hail 2 will be situated 26 degrees east longitude over the equator.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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