SpaceX Launches Communications Satellite, Radio Antenna

HAWTHORNE (CNS) - Hawthorne-based SpaceX sent another satellite into orbit today, launching a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida and successfully recovering the rocket's first stage on a floating barge for reuse in future missions.

The Falcon 9 rocket -- which was previously used in a July 22 satellite-launch mission -- launched at 12:46 p.m. California time.

SpaceX again retrieved the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket by landing it aboard its floating barge, named “Of Course I Still Love You,” in the Atlantic Ocean a short time after launch. The Falcon 9 rocket is one of SpaceX's “Block 5” versions, designed for reuse in as many as 10 missions to dramatically reduce the cost of flight operations.

The rocket was carrying the Es'hail 2 satellite, owned by the Qatar Satellite Company. According to the company, the satellite will “boost broadband delivery, broadcasting and global connectivity in Qatar, the entire region and beyond.”

The satellite also includes a pair of radio antennas, which will allow amateur ham radio operators to connect “across the visible globe in one single hop and in real time.” The pair of transponders will be the first of their kind ever put into a geostationary orbit, according to the satellite company.

The mission was SpaceX's 18th launch of the year.

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