Vandenberg AFB satellite launch aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket huge success

The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Max Q the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure

Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched a Taiwanese satellite into orbit Thursday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Twelve launches in one year puts SpaceX ahead of its closes competitor in 2017, the Russian state space agency. While groups of spectators gathered for viewing parties at various spots around the Lompoc Valley, including along West Ocean Avenue, the rocket's rumble was both heard and felt throughout the area.

The Formosat-5, an Earth observation satellite built by Taiwan's National Space Organization, successfully deployed more than 11 minutes after liftoff. The satellite is reportedly the first ever to be fully designed in Taiwan. Both SpaceX and Russian Federation have launched 11 successful orbital missions this year, followed by China with eight and European firms at six.

SpaceX just loves to land their rockets.




According to Space.com, the Formosat-5 satellite is created to operate in a sun-synchronous orbit about 447 miles (720 kilometers) above Earth. That's more rockets than other country or space company in the world, including the rocket juggernaut Russian Federation, who has launched 11 rockets so far this year. This was the 15th successful landing of a Falcon 9 first stage in 40 liftoffs, and the ninth to land on a ship.

The news wasn't all good for SpaceX, however.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off Thursday between 11:50 a.m. and 12:34 p.m. The launch was delayed several times, though, and SpaceX ultimately phased out its lighter rockets.

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