Published: Sat, November 17, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Qatar launches Es'hail-2 satellite

Qatar launches Es'hail-2 satellite

The on-time launch was the first daytime launch from the Cape in 6 months. And they landed it again on the Of Course I Still Love You barge, floating out in the Atlantic.

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.

When the booster launched Thursday might fly again is not yet known, but SpaceX founder Elon Musk has said the block 5 version is created to fly up to 100 times with overhauls every 10 launches or so. After a near-bankruptcy and a string of failures, Musk's company relied on funding from NASA to build Falcon 9.

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.

Cargo includes an Es'hail-2, a communications satellite for Qatar. Two radio antennas were on board the spacecraft, marking the first time an amateur radio transponder was sent into geostationary orbit. The new satellite will provide telecommunication services to the Middle East and North Africa.

The Falcon family of rockets is slowly growing into the most successful reusable booster in history. In July 2018, it was used when launching the canadian satellite. The Es'hail 2 will be situated 26 degrees east longitude over the equator. 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.

In all, SpaceX launched a total of 18 mission this year, equaling the number of missions it had for the entire 2017.

Ali al-Kuwari, president and CEO of Es'hailSat, said earlier: "We are very excited about the upcoming launch of Es'hail-2, the second in our planned fleet of satellites".

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