Taiwanese satellite rides SpaceX rocket into orbit

Posted August 26, 2017

SpaceX is set to make its 12th rocket launch of the year today.

The Formosat-5 satellite lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:51 a.m. PDT on Thursday atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The Falcon 9 first stage separated from the second stage of the vehicle following the primary burn, and headed back to Earth for recovery.

In what is fast becoming a routine event this was the 15th successful landing out of 40 launches, and the 9th to land on a barge.

He extended his congratulations and appreciation to the NSPO's Formosat-5 team and the SpaceX launch team for their efforts. It is the first satellite which is developed and designed by Taiwan's National Space Organisation in a bid to enhance country's self-reliant space technology capabilities. The 450-kilogram spacecraft was the first such satellite built domestically by Taiwan, and succeeds Formosat-2, retired a year ago.

Formosat 2 was retired previous year, well after Formosat 5 was originally scheduled for launch. As of now, the company has already re-flown two of its used Falcon 9 boosters.

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SpaceX's Falcon 9's Round Trip Launch and Land.

An advanced ionospheric probe from the National Central University in Taiwan is also aboard Formosat 5.

The first stage on Thursday's launch, a newly-manufactured booster, will return to port in Southern California in a few days for inspections, refurbishment and potential reuse on a future mission.

The launch was the 12th Falcon 9 mission of 2017, and the second in 10 days, after the launch of a Dragon cargo spacecraft August 14 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Moments before the first-stage touchdown the video link to the vessel froze, then reappeared and showed the rocket standing.

The community can view the launch from the Hawk's Nest on Highway 1 south of Vandenberg Air Force Base' main gate.