SpaceX launches Formosat-5 satellite into orbit

Terry Joseph
August 25, 2017

A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off carrying a Taiwanese satellite.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Formosat-5 Earth-observation satellite on August 24, 2017. The event will be streamed live.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) congratulated Taiwan's FormoSat-5 satellite team and its partners for successfully launching the first locally developed satellite into orbit early Friday. SpaceX, during the launch webcast, declared the launch a success.

Another week, another successful rocket launch and recovery by Elon Musk's groundbreaking, Mars-seeking company, SpaceX.

An Earth-observation satellite for Taiwan's National Space Organization was launched into orbit from California on Thursday.

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A predecessor satellite, Formosat-2, produced more than 2.5 million images over 12 years of operation before it wore out and was decommissioned a year ago. SpaceX later discontinued the Falcon 1, moving Formosat-5 to a larger Falcon 9 vehicle. The satellite's primary instrument is an Earth-observing camera system capable of 2-meter (6.5 feet) resolution in black and white, and 4-m (13 feet) resolution in color. The change in launch vehicles and delays in SpaceX's launch schedules, including those caused by two Falcon 9 failures in 2015 and 2016, significantly delayed the launch.

Vandenberg's next Falcon 9 rocket reportedly is targeting September 30, with another 10 Iridium Next communication satellites ready to head to space.

The launch also features another landing of the Falcon 9 first stage, in this case on a droneship called "Just Read the Instructions" in the Pacific Ocean.

It was the 15th successful landing for the a first-stage booster by SpaceX, with the others occuring following Florida launches.

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