Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched a Taiwanese satellite into orbit Thursday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The launch of the FORMOSAT-5 satellite was SpaceX’s 12th orbital launch of the year.

The satellite was constructed by the Taiwan National Space Organization. According to SpaceX, the satellite will “promote space science experiments and research to enhance Taiwan’s self-reliant space technology capabilities, and to continue to serve the users of FORMOSAT-2’s global imagery services.”

The satellite is equipped with multiple cameras, along with an Advanced Ionospheric Probe developed by Taiwan’s National Central University.

SpaceX launched the satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base shortly before noon. The aerospace company was also able to successfully land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on a barge floating in the Pacific Ocean. The barge, or “droneship,” is whimsically named Just Read the Instructions.

SpaceX has been working to perfect its system of recovering rockets for reuse in future missions, saving millions of dollars in costs.

–City News Service

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