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26 August 2017, 01:26 | Hattie Nash
SpaceX's twelfth launch and ninth recovery of 2017 ready for a Thursday liftoff
SpaceX is set to make its 12th rocketlaunch of the year today.
"Falcon 9 has lifted off", SpaceX engineer Lauren Lyons said as the rocket soared into the sky over the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, leaving billowing clouds of smoke in its wake. The event will be streamed live.
The launch also features another landing of the Falcon 9 first stage, in this case on a droneship called "Just Read the Instructions" in the Pacific Ocean.
Given the size of Formosat-5 compared to Falcon 9, the satellite will be downright minuscule inside the vehicle's cavernous payload fairing.
SpaceX has always been obsessed with reducing the cost of spaceflight by employing reusable rockets that can launch multiple missions.
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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 satellite was constructed by the Taiwan National Space Organization. The second stage continued on toward orbit and deployed the satellite. SpaceX has already launchedrockets that have returned to Earth multiple times, thereby demonstrating their reusability. The company also plans to launch another used booster in September. Eastern, at the beginning of a 42-minute launch window. Taiwan's FORMOSAT-2 satellite launched in May 2004.
Between 2:51pm and 3:33 pm US Eastern time today, SpaceX will launch-and then hopefully recover-its twelfth rocket of the year. 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 was the 12th Falcon 9 mission of 2017, and the second in 10 days, after the launch of a Dragon cargo spacecraft August 14 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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