Es'hail-2 (Falcon 9)
15 November 2018
Space Launch Complex 39A
Kennedy Space Center

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Es’hail-2 communications satellite into orbit for the Qatar Satellite Company Es’hailSat from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A at 3:46 p.m. on 15 November 2018. Falcon 9’s first stage for the Es’hail-2 mission previously supported the Telstar 19 VANTAGE mission in July 2018. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

About the Es’hail-2 satellite from the SpaceX press release:

The Es’hail-2 satellite is based on the Mitsubishi Electric (MELCO) DS 2000 satellite bus, a proven, modular platform with high power capability and flexibility for a broad range of applications.

In addition to offering Ku-band resources to support the growing 25.50E / 26.0°E broadcast neighborhood, Es’hail-2 also features multi-transponder Ka-band capacity, providing business and government sectors with secure communications across the Middle East and North Africa region. In partnership with leading service providers, Es’hailSat will offer a portfolio of broadcast and VSAT services to support business growth.

The spacecraft’s multi-mission architecture will enable Es’hailSat to respond to demand for the fastest-growing applications in the Middle East and North Africa, including content transfer, broadcast distribution, enterprise communications, and government services.

A dark and stormy day due to the passage of a cold front left the launch in doubt due to the weather.
Gaseous oxygen vents from the Transporter Erector during the loading of liquid oxygen into the rocket with the weather starting to clear as launch time approached.
An opening in the clouds illuminated the pad in bright sunlight while all the surrounding area stayed in dark shadow.
The last view of the rocket as it entered the high altitude clouds.
Quiet returns to Pad 39A.
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