In Photos: SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Es'hail-2 Satellite, Then Lands Back on Earth

SpaceX Launches Es'Hail-2


On Nov. 15, 2018, SpaceX launched a used Falcon 9 rocket carrying a satellite for Qatar, then returned the booster's first stage to Earth for a pinpoint landing. See photos from the awesome launch here! (You can see launch video read our full story here.) Shown here:

Launch Streak


The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Qatar's Es'Hail-2 satellite streaks into space in this long-exposure view taken of the launch from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 15, 2018.

Punching Through a Vapor Cloud


A vapor cloud forms around the nose of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Es'Hail-2 satellite into space in this dazzling photo of the launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 15, 2018.



A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Es'hail-2 communications satellite for Qatar from Launch Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 15, 2018. It was the second launch for the Falcon 9's first stage.

Soaring to Space


The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Es'hail-2 satellite rises into the Florida skies on Nov. 15, 2018.

The View from Here


The Falcon 9's first-stage engines power the rocket to space on Nov. 15, 2018.

Satellite in Transit


This view from a camera on SpaceX's Falcon 9 second stage shows the Es'Hail-2 satellite as it rides into space.

Separate Stages


The Falcon 9's first (left) and second (right) stages go about their separate business during the Es'hail-2 launch.

First Stage Touchdown!


The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands on the deck of the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" after launching the Es'hail-2 satellite on Nov. 15, 2018.

Es'Hail-2 in Space


Qatar's Es'Hail-2 communications satellite (right) separates from the second stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket to enter an initial orbit in this view from a camera on the Falcon 9 stage taken after its Nov. 15, 2018 launch. The milestone marked the end of SpaceX's role in the satellite's mission.

You can see launch video read our full story here.

SpaceX on the Pad


The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Launch Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida ahead of launch.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award (opens in new tab) for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast (opens in new tab) with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network (opens in new tab). To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik (opens in new tab).