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SpaceX launches Taiwan's first home-built satellite

26 August 2017

Elon Musk's SpaceX has successfully launched another satellite, FORMOSAT-5, into outer space and right after ten minutes, the booster landed vertically on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean. The event will be streamed live.

Continuing its effort to re-use expensive rocket components instead of jettisoning them into the ocean after each launch, SpaceX managed to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 on a platform floating in the Pacific Ocean.

The latest successful landing brings SpaceX's record to 15 successful recoveries in 20 attempts so far and its 9th successful landing this year.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifts off Thursday with Formosat 5.

SpaceX has always been obsessed with reducing the cost of spaceflight by employing reusable rockets that can launch multiple missions. Thursday's satellite launch was the 12th SpaceX mission this year, meaning the company could reach its goal of weekly launches by 2019.

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Today's flight may be seemingly routine for SpaceX, but its payload is extra special since FORMOSAT-5 is the first satellite exclusively designed and built in Taiwan. The company also plans to launch another used booster in September.

The satellite, a successor to Formosat-2, is created to send down high-resolution Earth imagery for five years. SpaceX's US-based rival, United Launch Alliance, has flown five rockets.

About 2.5 minutes after launch, the rocket's two stages separated.

SpaceX has succeeded with a launch of one of its Falcon 9 rockets today, for client Taiwan National Space Organization (NSPO). Both SpaceX and Russian Federation have launched 11 successful orbital missions this year, followed by China with eight and European firms at six.

In a video clip, President Tsai Ing-wen said the successful launch represented a "big leap" in Taiwan's space technology and urged scientists to continue working to make more breakthroughs.

SpaceX launches Taiwan's first home-built satellite