SpaceX successfully launches ‘hammy’ satellite

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 carrying a unique satellite.

Video capture by Alexandra Able/CNET

SpaceX put on a matinee show for the first time in several months Thursday with the successful launch of the Es’hail 2 satellite for the Qatari satellite company.

A Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:46 pm PT, marking the first daytime launch for Elon Musk’s space company since May.

In addition to providing more bandwidth for Qatar, the satellite also carries transponders for use by amateur, or ham, radio operators. This will mark the first ham radio relay in a high geostationary orbit, allowing for one-hop communication over a huge section of the globe.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 successfully landed on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean and could potentially be recycled for a third launch.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is planning its next launch for Monday, when it hopes to launch a different booster for the third time. If that happens, it would be a major first to see the same rocket successfully carry out three orbital missions. 

That next launch is set for 10:32 a.m. PT from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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