SpaceX launches FORMOSAT-5 satellite

The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Max Q the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure

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

The Formosat-5 satellite lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:51 a.m. The event will be streamed live. After a successful launch of the Taiwanese satellite the FORMOSAT-5 the Falcon-9 returned to the SpaceX droneship "Just Read the Instructions" located on the Pacific Ocean.

It was a roundtrip today for SpaceX's Falcon 9.

And this is actually good news for SpaceX as a business, as much as Musk may love to cultivate his relationship with the media. As such, the company's West coast pad may well remain unused well into the future, and SpaceX may simply have chosen to focus their pad engineers on the far more pressing and time sensitive work going on at SpaceX's East coast launch facilities.

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 National Space Organization (NSPO) spent six years and about NT$5.65 billion (US$186.8 million at the current exchange rate) developing Formosat-5, which is to replace the decommissioned Formosat-2 in collecting data for disaster evaluation, national security and scientific research during its five-year mission. The satellite is basically an Earth observation satellite of Taiwan's National Space Organisation. The booster landing activity is the part of SpaceX program to reuse the rockets which can launch multiple missions so that spaceflight cost can be reduced.

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.

Speaking to the press after FormoSat-5's launch, Chen said the experience with the mini-satellite would serve as a foundation for the development of FormoSat-7.

About 2.5 minutes after launch, the rocket's two stages separated.

The 42-minute launch window opens on Thursday, August 24 at 11:51 a.m. PDT, or 18:51 UTC.

In Los Angeles, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Su Fong-chin (蘇芳慶) address a party celebrating the launch, saying that success does not come easy in space.

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