Vandenberg AFB satellite launch aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket huge success

Vandenberg AFB satellite launch aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket huge success

SpaceX, during the launch webcast, declared the launch a success.

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

The Earth-observing Formosat-5 satellite, which cost about $168 million to construct, is expected to complete a five-year mission in which it will collect a range of data that will be used for evaluation of natural disasters, national security, environmental monitoring, rescue operations and scientific research, according to the Taipei Times.

SpaceX just launched its 12th rocket of the year.

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In another Facebook post before the launch, Tsai said FormoSat-5 was carrying Taiwanese technology as well as Taiwanese dream. The larger, more powerful Falcon Heavy rocket is set for a demonstration launch later this year. The change in launch vehicles and delays in SpaceX's launch schedules, including those caused by two Falcon 9 failures in 2015 and 2016, significantly delayed the launch. After the first stage sends the satellite on its way to low Earth orbit, the booster will attempt a landing on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

The community can view the launch from the Hawk's Nest on Highway 1 south of Vandenberg Air Force Base' main gate. This was the 15th successful landing of a Falcon 9 first stage in 40 liftoffs, and the ninth to land on a ship.

Vandenberg's next Falcon 9 rocket reportedly is targeting September 30, with another 10 Iridium Next communication satellites ready to head to space.

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