SpaceX to launch satellite, re-land booster rocket at 2:50 pm


Launch officials say the Falcon 9 will place Taiwan's Formosat 5 scientific satellite into orbit.

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 also nailed the landing and recovery of the first stage that safely settled on the drone ship "Just Read the Instructions" in the Pacific Ocean about 10 minutes after liftoff. Moreover, it would be worth mentioning here that Falcon 9 booster is the 15th successful rocket landing performed by SpaceX since its first successful landing in 2015.

SpaceX later discontinued the Falcon 1, moving Formosat-5 to a larger Falcon 9 vehicle.

SpaceX has always been obsessed with reducing the cost of spaceflight by employing reusable rockets that can launch multiple missions.

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With this recent successful mission, SpaceX has now launched a total of 12 mission this year. The company also plans to launch another used booster in September. It's meant to sit in a Sun-synchronous orbit, in which the satellite will pass over the same patches of Earth at the same times each day.

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. The teams in Taiwan and in the United States congratulated each other excitedly for FORMOSAT-5 launched into space successfully. The choice to land in the ocean has sparked curiosity among fans after photos suggested that SpaceX's West coast landing zone is complete and all necessary permits and environmental impact reviews have been successfully completed.

The launch window begins Thursday, August 24, at 11:51 a.m. PST and lasts for approximately 40 minutes, allowing for flexibility in the event of a simple scrub or abort.