Satellite for Taiwan launched from California

Space X's Falcon 9 rocket prepared for a launch to the International Space Station in February 2017 at the Kennedy Space Center Florida

The Space Exploration Technologiesbooster blasted off at 11:50 a.m.at the beginning of a 42-minute launch windowfrom Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) congratulated Taiwan's FormoSat-5 satellite team and its partners for successfully launching the first locally developed satellite into orbit early Friday. Thursday's mission pushed SpaceX past Russian Federation, which has 11, for the most orbital launches of any single entity.

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The Formosat-5 satellite lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:51 a.m. PDT on Thursday atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Both SpaceX and Russian Federation have launched 11 successful orbital missions this year, followed by China with eight and European firms at six. The spacecraft carries cameras capable of producing panchromatic images at a resolution of two meters and color images at a resolution of four meters. SpaceX later discontinued the Falcon 1, moving Formosat-5 to a larger Falcon 9 vehicle. However, Spaceflight announced in March that it had made a decision to find alternative rides for those secondary payloads because of "significant" delays it expected in the Formosat-5 launch.

After the rocket puts the FORMOSAT-5 Earth observation satellite into low-Earth orbit, its first stage will attempt to land on a barge in the Pacific Ocean named "Just Read the Instructions". The gate opens at 10:30 a.m. and closes at 11:40 a.m. Weapons, alcohol, smoke, open fires and/or barbecues will not be allowed. SpaceX has recovered 15 Falcon 9 first stages in total.

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