Nov. 15 (UPI) -- SpaceX successfully launched another communications satellite, this time for the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar.
After several months of late night and early morning launches, spectators on Florida's Space Coast got to watch a daytime blastoff. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launched from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A. Blastoff took place on time at 3:46 p.m. ET.
The launch was live streamed on SpaceX's webcast page.
The rocket and its payload hit a succession of milestones within minutes of takeoff, including first and second stage separation, as well as the release of the payload fairings. Falcon 9's second stage carried Qatar's Es'hail-2 satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. The satellite will use its own power to achieve a geostationary orbit.
First stage entry burn complete. Second stage continuing nominally to geostationary transfer orbit.- SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 15, 2018
As usual, the space company landed the Falcon 9's first stage on SpaceX's autonomous drone ship, named Of Course I Still Love You, in the Atlantic Ocean.
As its name implies, the satellite is the second Es'hail craft to launch, but it is the first dedicated exclusively to Qatari communications. Es'hail-1 was a joint mission, and its services are shared by Es'hailSat and French telecommunications operator Eutelsat.
Thursday's flight marked SpaceX's 18th mission in 2018.
Thursday's launch was powered by a previously used rocket booster. In July, the booster helped carry the Telstar 19 VANTAGE satellite into space.
SpaceX did not attempt to recover any of the payload fairings, the paneling that protects the mission payload on the high-speed trip through Earth's atmosphere.