SpaceX launches 12th Falcon 9 rocket this year

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With today's launch, it seems that SpaceX is picking back up its mission pace.

A diagram illustrating Formosat being encapsulated in Falcon 9's payload fairing.

The launch of the FORMOSAT-5 satellite was SpaceX's 12th orbital launch of the year. It follows Formosat 2, a European-built satellite owned by Taiwan's National Space Organization, or NSPO, launched in 2004 from Vandenberg on a Taurus rocket.

Chang said FormoSat-7 testing will begin later this year in November, and he pegged May or June 2018 as the tentative time for its launch from Florida. The launch was conducted through SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.

"More importantly, the images taken by Formosat-5 belong to Taiwan". People can't wait to see FORMOSAT-5 provide service in orbit.

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Moments later the rocket's second stage deployed the satellite into low-Earth orbit.

Less than 11 minutes after launch, the first stage set down on the vessel, the latest success in SpaceX's drive for reusability.

The rocket's powerful first stage was landed on SpaceX's "Just Read the Instructions" floating barge, situated off the coast of southern California. The company also plans to launch another used booster in September. Live video from a camera mounted on the rocket showed the Taiwanese satellite receding from view.

However, in an op-ed published by the Chinese-language Apple Daily on Friday last week, former NSPO director-general Lance Wu (吳作樂) said that Formosat-5 was no better than its predecessor, questioning the agency's "innovation".

The Falcon 9's upper stage was programmed to reignite its engine later Thursday for a de-orbit burn to burn up in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. As Falcon 9 launches become more routine and less newsworthy, business can boom for SpaceX while also laying the groundwork and demand for Musk's next big thing.

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