Far out! Space X successfully launches another rocket- and lands it!

Jay Jacobs
August 25, 2017

SpaceX has successfully landed the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean during the launch of an Earth-observation satellite for Taiwan.

The Space Exploration Technologiesbooster blasted off at 11:50 a.m.at the beginning of a 42-minute launch windowfrom Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base.

The two-stage Falcon 9 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 2:51 p.m. EDT (1851 GMT; 11:51 a.m. local time), hauling the Formosat-5 spacecraft into the heavens. The company began reusing its boosters this year - its first successful booster landing was in December 2015 - in an effort to cut down on launch costs.

The rocket's only payload, the Formosat-5 remote sensing satellite, separated from the upper stage a little more than 11 minutes after launch.

Moments later the rocket's second stage deployed the satellite into low-Earth orbit.

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The satellite was constructed by the Taiwan National Space Organization.

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.

In another Facebook post before the launch, Tsai said FormoSat-5 was carrying Taiwanese technology as well as Taiwanese dream.

It's hard to believe it was less than two years ago that a SpaceX Falcon 9 landing was an elusive and unprecedented achievement. Twelve launches in one year puts SpaceX ahead of its closes competitor in 2017, the Russian state space agency.

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