SpaceX Conducts 18th Launch of Year

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX successfully launched the Es’hail-2 satellite on Thursday, November 15 from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff occurred at 3:46 p.m. EST, or 20:46 UTC, and the satellite was deployed to a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) about 32 minutes after liftoff.

Falcon 9’s first stage for the Es’hail-2 mission previously supported the Telstar 19 VANTAGE mission in July 2018. Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Falcon 9’s first stage for the Es’hail-2 mission previously supported the Telstar 19 VANTAGE mission in July 2018. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.


The Es’hail-2 satellite is based on the Mitsubishi Electric (MELCO) DS 2000 satellite bus, a proven, modular platform with high power capability and flexibility for a broad range of applications.

In addition to offering Ku-band resources to support the growing 25.5⁰E / 26.0°E broadcast neighborhood, Es’hail-2 also features multi-transponder Ka-band capacity, providing business and government sectors with secure communications across the Middle East and North Africa region. In partnership with leading service providers, Es’hailSat will offer a portfolio of broadcast and VSAT services to support business growth.

The spacecraft’s multi-mission architecture will enable Es’hailSat to respond to demand for the fastest-growing applications in the Middle East and North Africa, including content transfer, broadcast distribution, enterprise communications, and government services.

Launch Facility

Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has a long and storied history dating back to the early 1960s. Originally built to support the Apollo program, LC-39A supported the first Saturn V launch (Apollo 4), and many subsequent Apollo missions, including Apollo 11 in July 1969. Beginning in the late 1970s, LC-39A was modified to support Space Shuttle launches, hosting the first and last shuttle missions to orbit in 1981 and 2011 respectively.

In 2014, SpaceX signed a 20-year lease with NASA for the use of historic LC-39A. Since then, the company has made significant upgrades to modernize the pad’s structures and ground systems, while also preserving its important heritage. Extensive modifications to LC-39A have been made to support launches of both commercial and crew missions on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles.

  • duheagle

    This launch brings SpaceX’s mission total for 2018 even with its total for last year. As the webcast hosts noted, it’s also the first time SpaceX has ever conducted a launch in the month of November. If SpaceX concludes its remaining roster of upcoming missions for the year, 2018 will also be the first time SpaceX has launched at least one mission during each month of a calendar year.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Phase IV rocks 🙂

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    You mean that movie from 1970’s about ants taking over Arizona?

  • Robert G. Oler

    “Them” I think anyway that was lovely…a great flick.

    Phase IV is an amateur radio transponder in Geo orbit…and the Europeans have finally gotten one…which works for me in Istanbul

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Oh, right! What modes are going to be available? How are you going to use it? I can imagine it’s going to be a traffic jam. I used to tune into the AMSAT series back in the 90’s. It’s good to see AMSAT reaching out. Le’t hope they leave the Earth Moon system fairly soon and start developing amateur interplanetary communications.

    Cult movie watchers in Tucson cling to “Phase IV” and “Night of the Lepus” as they are extra campy with heavy heaps of cheese, and choc full o visual greatness that Tucsonans see every day.

  • ReSpaceAge

    And the fleet of duel launched boosters grows to 3.
    Up next in the west coast a booster will attempt its third flight.

    These birds are developing some personally/history.

    SpaceX makes it look so easy, kind of like ULA use to do in their hayday.

  • Robert G. Oler

    there are two transponders…its going to be a blast.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    Anybody know what’s going on in Boca Chica these days? News is kind of sparse.

  • duheagle

    Another monster cryogenic propellant storage tank got delivered a couple weeks back. One suspects that a great deal of lower-profile work proceeds there, but I have seen no details about that in print. I’m thinking we’ll likely be seeing some news about some serious concrete pours there before much longer. BFR needs a pad and some sort of big vehicle storage/payload integration building at a minimum.

  • duheagle

    Somewhere, Arthur C. Clarke is smiling.

  • Robert G. Oler

    I have a 3 meter dish all ready to go

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    What was once a article in Wireless World written in 1945 has gone from national project, to high dollar industry, to back yard amateur technical adventurism.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Tracking mount, or fixed? I’d love to see a pic.

  • Robert G. Oler

    I’ll get some pics…I have a 2 meter dish here that tracks but decided to mount the 3 meter fixed constantly at the bird. I had hoped to do some moonbounce from here and still might…but well just not now..

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    If you’re interested, I can get you in touch with a Moonbounce ham here in Tucson who has a working rig. I’m sure he’d love to work with you. Feel free to contact me at my gmail address. It’s just my name.