SpaceX sent the Es'hail-2 telecommunications satellite into orbit today, then brought the Falcon 9 rocket's first-stage booster back down for an at-sea landing.
The rocket is set to blast off from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
Falcon 9's first stage for the Es'hail-2 mission previously supported the Telstar 19 VANTAGE mission in July 2018.
Meanwhile, SpaceX is planning its next launch for Monday, when it hopes to launch a different booster for the third time. That wasn't the case, however, with liftoff taking place successfully and the satellite being deployed around half an hour later.
Built by Mitsubishi Electric Company, based on their DS 2000 satellite bus, Es'hail-2 has a proven, modular platform with high power capability and flexibility for a broad range of applications.
To get there, the satellite's on-board propulsion system will be used to raise the low-point of the orbit and maneuver the spacecraft into the proper orbital slot where it can provide government and private-sector communications across the Middle East, including direct-to-home television and data services. A bonus for amateur radio operators in that area: A HAM transponder is part of the payload.
Four more launches using a Falcon 9 rocket are scheduled in the last six weeks of the year. And 9 in the title refers to the number of engines in the rocket. The Es'hail 2 will be situated 26 degrees east longitude over the equator.
Another major feat for Elon Musk and his team, the successful booster landing opens the door for it to be used again for another mission, making it the 31st time the company has recovered a booster after a launch.
The company kept a steady launch pace this year and, today, they will be attempting their 18th mission.
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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