Watch SpaceX go for its record-tying 18th launch of the year

  • SpaceX is attempting to put a large communications satellite in orbit for Qatar-based Es'hailSat.
  • This mission is SpaceX's 18th of the year.

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SpaceX is ready to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida on Thursday as it tries to put a large communications satellite in orbit for Qatar-based Es'hailSat.

This mission is SpaceX's 18th of the year. If successful, the Es'hail-2 mission will tie the company's record for 18 successful launches in a year, set in 2017. A few minutes after the launch, the lower "boost" stage of the Falcon 9 will return to attempt to land on the company's autonomous drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Elon Musk's rocket company will livestream the launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

The company is months away from its next big milestone, the launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in its Crew Dragon capsule.