SpaceX's Falcon 9 To Send Satellite During Daylight Launch

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Thursday Nov. 15 2018.                        SpaceX

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Thursday Nov. 15 2018. SpaceX

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, sending the Es'hail-2 satellite into space. 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. If that happens, it would be a major first to see the same rocket successfully carry out three orbital missions.

Knifing through an overcast sky, the rocket quickly disappeared from view, leaving a slowly fading rumble in its wake.

The relay station, built by Mitsubishi Electric and operated by Qatar-based Es'hailSat, is bound for a circular orbit 22,300 miles above the equator where satellites take 24 hours to complete one orbit and appear to hang stationary in the sky. The satellite separated from the rocket 32 minutes later.

An artist's impression of the Es'hail 2 communications satellite in orbit. The new satellite will provide telecommunication services to the Middle East and North Africa.

Es'hailSat's first satellite entered service in December 2013 and now provides direct-to-home television content, business communications and other telecommunications services.

Es'hail-2 carries Ku-band capacity for television broadcasting and Ka-band capacity for connectivity to businesses and government users. It also supports the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation's first geostationary communications capability.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 successfully landed on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic Ocean and could potentially be recycled for a third launch.

SpaceX rocket landings have become relatively routine, with 30 successful recoveries going into Thursday's flight, 18 on droneships and 12 on land. The booster launched Thursday was expected to touchdown on the drone ship eight minutes and 16 seconds after liftoff.