SpaceX Launches Earth-Observing Satellite, Lands Rocket on Ship during Sea

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched a Taiwanese Earth-observation satellite currently (Aug. 24) and afterwards came behind down for a pinpoint alighting on a boat during sea.


The two-stage Falcon 9 carried off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California during 2:51 p.m. EDT (1851 GMT; 11:51 a.m. internal time), hauling a Formosat-5 upholder into a heavens.

About 2.5 mins after launch, a rocket’s dual stages separated. The second theatre continued carrying Formosat-5 toward a prescribed orbit, and a initial theatre achieved a array of maneuvers to conduct toward a SpaceX worker boat “Just Read a Instructions,” that was stationed in a Pacific Ocean. [Watch: Awesome Supercut of 5 SpaceX Rocket Landings]

The upholder aced a landing, settling gently on a ship’s rug a small reduction than 11 mins after holding off.

Such thespian touchdowns are removing to be rather slight for SpaceX: Today’s was a 15th that a association has pulled off during orbital launches, and a ninth to take place on a worker ship. The other 6 rocket landings have occurred during “Landing Zone 1,” a SpaceX trickery during Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

These activities are partial of SpaceX’s bid to rise reusable spaceflight systems, that association owner and CEO Elon Musk has pronounced could condense a cost of space exploration. SpaceX has already re-flown dual used Falcon 9 initial stages, and it has also employed a same robotic Dragon load plug on dual apart resupply flights to a International Space Station. (The Falcon 9 that took off today, however, was wholly new.)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches a Formosat-5 Earth-observation satellite on Aug. 24, 2017.
Credit: SpaceX

But removing Formosat-5 aloft was a categorical indicate of today’s mission. The satellite, that was built by Taiwan’s National Space Organization, will investigate Earth for during slightest 5 years, from a sun-synchronous circuit 447 miles (720 kilometers) above a ground.

The categorical cargo of Formosat-5 is an visual “Remote Sensing Instrument,” that will yield 6.5-foot (2 meters) fortitude for black-and-white images and 13-foot (4 m) fortitude for multi-spectral tone images, SpaceX member wrote in a goal overview.

“Formosat-5 also hosts a delegate systematic payload, an Advanced Ionospheric Probe (AIP), grown by Taiwan’s National Central University,” they added.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.


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