Falcon 9 launches Taiwanese remote sensing satellite

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Thursday's satellite launch was the 12th SpaceX mission this year, meaning the company could reach its goal of weekly launches by 2019.

An Earth-observation satellite for Taiwan's National Space Organization has been launched from California. Thursday's mission pushed SpaceX past Russian Federation, which has 11, for the most orbital launches of any single entity.

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

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It was the 15th successful landing for the a first-stage booster by SpaceX, with the others occuring following Florida launches.

"Formosat-5 also hosts a secondary scientific payload, an Advanced Ionospheric Probe (AIP), developed by Taiwan's National Central University", they added.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Formosat-5 Earth-observation satellite on August 24, 2017. SpaceX later discontinued the Falcon 1, moving Formosat-5 to a larger Falcon 9 vehicle.

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The main payload of Formosat-5 is an optical "Remote Sensing Instrument", which will provide 6.5-foot (2 meters) resolution for black-and-white images and 13-foot (4 m) resolution for multi-spectral color images, SpaceX representatives wrote in a mission overview. Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but NSPO is widely understood to be paying far less than the Falcon 9 list price of more than $60 million for this launch.

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.

SpaceX launched the satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base shortly before noon.

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