Update: The Es’hail-2 satellite was successfully launched after the Falcon 9 lifted off from the Florida Kennedy Space Center at 15:46 Eastern Time (20:46 UTC). The booster landed safely on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship, marking the 31st time SpaceX has successfully recovered their booster after an orbital launch.
This year has been extremely busy for SpaceX, to say the least – aside from the continuous launches and the introduction of the reusable Falcon 9, the company has also been working hard on finishing up the Dragon spacecraft that will be sending NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.
The company kept a steady launch pace this year and, today, they will be attempting their 18th mission. This mission will see the Es’hail-2 satellite being sent off into orbit, a satellite that will be providing telecommunications services for the Middle East and North Africa. The satellite weighs no less than three tons and it will be delivered to a geostationary transfer orbit.
Weather conditions for the launch are 60% favorable, but there is a back-up launch window for Friday as well.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage is the same one that was flown on July 22 with the Telstar 19V mission. It will land on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, out in the Atlantic Ocean. The satellite is set to be deployed around 32 minutes into the flight.
If you want to watch the Es’hail-2 Mission, you can do so in the video below, which will begin broadcasting 15 minutes before launch.
SpaceX / Youtube