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

Flickr  spacex

Flickr spacex

It's all happening from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida-weather permitting-and viewers can live-stream the launch via SpaceX's YouTube page and on the SpaceX website.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket thundered to life and streaked away from the Florida coast Thursday, boosting a Qatari communications satellite toward orbit. If that happens, it would be a major first to see the same rocket successfully carry out three orbital missions.

The landing was the second for this particular first stage, which also helped launch the Telstar 19 Vantage communications satellite on July 22.

The Japanese-built Es'hail-2 satellite is the second in a series of spacecraft created to provide satellite TV and secure communication services across the Middle East and North Africa.

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An artist's impression of the Es'hail 2 communications satellite in orbit. Both Es'hail satellites are operated by Qatar's state-owned Es'hailSat telecom venture.

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.

Es'hailSat's first satellite entered service in December 2013 and now provides direct-to-home television content, business communications and other telecommunications services. The Falcon 9 rocket was then successfully landed on one of SpaceX's drone ships for reuse at a later date. The booster touched down on the robotic ship about 8.5 minutes after liftoff.

SpaceX rocket landings have become relatively routine, with 30 successful recoveries going into Thursday's flight, 18 on droneships and 12 on land.

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