Taiwanese satellite rides SpaceX rocket into orbit

Steve Phelps
August 26, 2017

The event will be streamed live. This was the 15th successful landing of a Falcon 9 first stage in 40 liftoffs, and the ninth to land on a ship.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifts off Thursday with Formosat 5.

Two SpaceX rocket mishaps over the last two years also contributed to the delays. Additionally, SpaceX has finally started reusing the rockets it has recovered, sending two previously flown boosters into space this year.

SpaceX is not a country, but if it were the company would be tied with Russian Federation for the most orbital launches of 2017. The satellite is reportedly the first ever to be fully designed in Taiwan. With five months to go, SpaceX could launch 20 rockets by the end of the year at its current pace.

SpaceX previously planned to fly a secondary payload, the Sherpa bus from Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries, which would have deployed almost 90 small satellites after separating from the Falcon 9 upper stage.

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Taiwan's National Space Organization, the country's space agency, originally paid SpaceX around $23 million in 2010 for the launch, less than half of the advertised price of a Falcon 9 launch today. There's a 42-minute launch window, too, so the vehicle can take off up until 3:33PM ET.

This particular launch was the 12th this year so far, and the second flight in 10 days (the earlier flight in August was a cargo mission to the International Space Station).

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

These activities are part of SpaceX's effort to develop reusable spaceflight systems, which company founder and CEO Elon Musk has said could slash the cost of space exploration. The teams in Taiwan and in the United States congratulated each other excitedly for FORMOSAT-5 launched into space successfully. SpaceX, during the launch webcast, declared the launch a success.

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