SpaceX launches Formosat-5 satellite

SpaceX launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rises from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. (SpaceX via YouTube)

SpaceX chalked up another successful satellite launch and booster landing today, putting Taiwan’s Formosat-5 Earth observation satellite into orbit in the process.

The company’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 11:51 a.m. PT from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base at the opening of a 44-minute launch window.

Minutes later, the rocket’s second stage separated to send the 1,050-pound Formosat-5 satellite into a nearly pole-to-pole orbit for Taiwan’s National Space Organization.

The satellite, a successor to Formosat-2, is designed to send down high-resolution Earth imagery for five years. Formosat-5 also carries a plasma sensor that will monitor the effect of space weather on Earth’s ionosphere.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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