AUG 25, 2017 7:30 AM PDT

SpaceX Launches Taiwanese Satellite: Formosat-5

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Although SpaceX is a United States-based commercial space company, they still frequently perform space launches for other countries. This Thursday was no different, as SpaceX moved forward with a launch contract they signed with the Taiwanese government back in 2010.

To do so, SpaceX launched a tiny satellite known as the Formosat-5 from Vandenberg Airforce Base, California at approximately 2:51 P.M. Eastern time. The satellite went into orbit to replace the Fermosat-2 satellite that Taiwan retired nearly a year ago.

An image of the domestically-built Taiwanese Fermosat-5 satellite, before launch.

Image Credit: NSPO

Fermosat-5 weighed just over 1,000 pounds, which is incredibly light for a satellite. Moreover, it was the only thing SpaceX packed inside the Falcon 9 rocket’s cargo capsule for Thursday's launch.

Related: SpaceX wants to send Falcon 9 rockets to space every couple of weeks

Unfortunately, SpaceX didn’t have any other cargo they could pack along with the lightweight Fermosat-5 satellite. Instead, it went into space all by its lonesome, costing SpaceX quite a bit of money in the process; nevertheless, a contract is a contract.

The Falcon 9 rocket took off effortlessly from the launch pad with the ultralight payload onboard. Falcon 9 rockets are built to carry significantly heavier cargo, so the result was expected.

A video of the successful rocket launch is available on the SpaceX YouTube channel for your viewing pleasure:

After the Falcon 9 rocket made it to space, approximately 450 miles above the Earth's surface, the first stage returned to the Earth for a controlled landing. It successfully propped itself upright on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of California.

Notably, this marked SpaceX’s 15th successful Falcon 9 first stage landing.

Related: Read about last year's SpaceX Falcon 9 explosion in Cape Canaveral, Florida

Fermosat-5 is the first indigenously-built satellite by Taiwan’s National Space Organization (NSPO). Just like its predecessor, it's simply a remote sensing satellite that uses its onboard imaging equipment and science equipment to study the Earth.

SpaceX will undoubtedly refurbish the Falcon 9 it sent up into space for this launch, as the rocket hardly exhibited any wear and tear as a result of the ultra-light payload.

Source: Spaceflight Now

About the Author
Other
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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