Watch the Falcon 9 rocket blast off for the Qatari satellite mission

Flickr  spacex

Flickr spacex

The Es'hail mission is first time in six months SpaceX will use pad 39A.

SpaceX rocket landings have become relatively routine, with 30 successful recoveries going into Thursday's flight, 18 on droneships and 12 on land. After a near-bankruptcy and a string of failures, Musk's company relied on funding from NASA to build Falcon 9.

When a customer like Qatar orders a Falcon 9 rocket launch from SpaceX, they now pay about $62 million, according to the company's recent estimates. Es'hail-1 was a joint mission, and its services are shared by Es'hailSat and French telecommunications operator Eutelsat.

Es'hail-2 "features multi-transponder Ka-band capacity, providing business and government sectors with secure communications across the Middle East and North Africa region", SpaceX representatives wrote in a mission press kit.

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Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket capable of re-flight.

Two minutes and 35 seconds after liftoff, the first stage separated and dropped away, followed a few seconds later by ignition of the second stage's single engine. The Es'hail 2 will be situated 26 degrees east longitude over the equator. Other private companies, like Blue Origin, are working on similar technologies, but to date SpaceX is the only one to have successfully used the concept. During the booster's final moments of its return, the engined reignited to, allowing the four legs of the booster to be deployed at the base of the rocket. Television views provided by SpaceX showed the stage smoothly descending to touchdown about eight minutes and 15 seconds after liftoff. The booster landed safely on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship, marking the 31st time SpaceX has successfully recovered their booster after an orbital launch.

Thursday's launch was powered by a previously used rocket booster.

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