SpaceX Launches Formosat-5 Satellite, Lands Rocket Successfully

Phillip Butler
August 26, 2017

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

Carrying Taiwan's first domestically designed satellite, SpaceX's Falcon 9 lifted off at 11:51 AM local time with the rocket's two stages separating about 2.5 minutes after launch. The event will be streamed live.

"This is the 15th successful landing of a Falcon 9", said Lauren Lyons, the SpaceX webcast launch commentator.

He extended his congratulations and appreciation to the NSPO's Formosat-5 team and the SpaceX launch team for their efforts.

Two SpaceX rocket mishaps over the last two years also contributed to the delays.

"FORMOSAT-5 is the first space program that Taiwan's National Space Organization (NSPO) has taken full responsibility for the design, development and system integration of", SpaceX representatives wrote. The satellite is basically an Earth observation satellite of Taiwan's National Space Organisation.

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. Twelve launches in one year puts SpaceX ahead of its closes competitor in 2017, the Russian state space agency.

In a video clip, President Tsai Ing-wen said the successful launch represented a "big leap" in Taiwan's space technology and urged scientists to continue working to make more breakthroughs.

Several others were rebooked on the next Sherpa adapter flying on a Falcon 9 next year. The commercial rocket will heave the Air Force's reusable X-37B space plane into orbit on a top secret mission, then its first stage will descend to a landing at Cape Canaveral a few minutes later.

Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete-targeting launch of FORMOSAT-5 from SLC-4E at Vandenberg AFB on August 24.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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