SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Ready To Liftoff From NASA's Kennedy Space Center

  • SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Ready To Liftoff From NASA's Kennedy Space Center

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Ready To Liftoff From NASA's Kennedy Space Center

The rocket reusability is a breakthrough needed to reduce the cost of access to space and enable people to live on other planets, according to SpaceX. The agency's latest schedule has SpaceX's first demonstration flight slated for January, and the first flight with astronauts on board planned for June.

SpaceX has come a long way since it started in 2002.

What is Falcon 9?

SpaceX's Es'hail-2 mission will send a communications satellite 22,000 miles into space for state-owned Qatar Satellite Company, providing added communications access for large swaths of the Middle East and North African regions.

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

The Es'hail 2 satellite was successfully deployed into orbit above Earth's equator 32 minutes after launch. Blastoff took place on time at 3:46 p.m. ET.

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. The booster touched down on the robotic ship about 8.5 minutes after liftoff.

An artist's impression of the Es'hail 2 communications satellite in orbit. If all goes well, the Es'hail 2 will enter service at the end of January. It was also the rocket's 63rd launch since 2010. The bull's-eye landing marked the 31st for SpaceX and the second landing for the booster.

The first stage landing, meanwhile, followed SpaceX's normal script for recoveries. The rocket experienced some serious problems along the way, but the company's number of successful launches has nearly made them boring over the past few years. The company already has recovered rocket boosters several times, both on land and on drone ships at sea.

SpaceX conducted this year on 18 successful launches, which allowed us to repeat last year's result by the number of launches in a calendar year.