How to watch today's SpaceX rocket launch

Posted August 26, 2017

It will see Falcon 9 carry Formosat-5 into a sun-synchronous orbit approximately 600-1000km above the surface of the Earth, where it will be able to best carry out its duties of remote sensing and Earth observation.

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. Formosat 5's launch was shuffled later in SpaceX's manifest for unexplained reasons.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifts off Thursday with Formosat 5.

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Originally slated to fly on SpaceX's discontinued Falcon 1 rocket, Formosat 5 is the first major space mission fully design, manufactured and tested in Taiwan.

The nation's next satellite, Formosat-7, is being inspected by NSPO members, who are confident about its launch next year, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday before toasting with champagne.

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. SpaceX has already launched rockets that have returned to Earth multiple times, thereby demonstrating their reusability. The satellite also carries a secondary Advanced Ionospheric Probe instrument built by Taiwan's National Central University.

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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.

SpaceX has always been obsessed with reducing the cost of spaceflight by employing reusable rockets that can launch multiple missions. That's more rockets than other country or space company in the world, including the rocket juggernaut Russian Federation, who has launched 11 rockets so far this year.

Several others were rebooked on the next Sherpa adapter flying on a Falcon 9 next year.

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FORMOSAT-5 was launched on August 25, 2017 at 2:50 a.m. Taiwan time from Vandenberg Air Force Base by Falcon 9 rocket.