The payload was a communications satellite for the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
Qatar's Es'hail-2 satellite will connect amateur radio users from Brazil to Thailand and will assist with broadcast and broadband connectivity to Qatar and neighboring countries, according to a Kennedy Space Center website. The first stage is scheduled to touch down on the floating platform about 8 minutes after liftoff.
Weather forecasts cite a 40 percent chance that rain showers or high-level winds could disrupt the 3:46 p.m. liftoff, which would push the launch further into its window until 5:29 p.m.
Falcon 9's first stage for the Es'hail-2 mission previously supported the Telstar 19 VANTAGE mission in July 2018. A bonus for amateur radio operators in that area: A HAM transponder is part of the payload.
Most of these launches now result in successful returns of the Falcon 9 rocket boosters, an incredible feat considering that SpaceX had plenty of difficulty landing its first Falcon 9 on a drone ship.
WATCH LIVE: SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Ready To Liftoff From NASA's Kennedy Space Center |
The launch was live streamed on SpaceX's webcast page.
Smoothly accelerating as the rocket gulped propellant and lost weight, the Falcon 9 arced away to the east over the Atlantic Ocean, rapidly gaining altitude and slowly fading from view, leaving a crackling roar in its wake. Two firings were required to put the Es'hail 2 relay station into the required elliptical "transfer" orbit, one with a predicted low point of just 115 miles and a high point of about 22,370.
SpaceX has now pulled off 31 first-stage landings and reflown landed boosters on 17 occasions.
This launch marked Falcon 9's 18th successful launch this year, equalizing the record the private rocket launch company made last year. The launch took place on 15 November with the Space center of a name Kennedy in Florida. And 9 in the title refers to the number of engines in the rocket.