SpaceX launch planned Thursday at Vandenberg AFB

SpaceX's twelfth launch and ninth recovery of 2017 ready for a Thursday liftoff

Launch officials say the Falcon 9 will place Taiwan's Formosat 5 scientific satellite into orbit. The event will be streamed live.

The rocket's only payload, the Formosat-5 remote sensing satellite, separated from the upper stage a little more than 11 minutes after launch.

The launch was also a milestone for SpaceX, which has now successfully launched 12 rockets this year.

An Earth-observation satellite for Taiwan's National Space Organization has been launched from California. Both SpaceX and Russian Federation have launched 11 successful orbital missions this year, followed by China with eight and European firms at six.

SpaceX's twelfth launch and ninth recovery of 2017 ready for a Thursday liftoff
Vandenberg AFB satellite launch aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket huge success

Moments later the rocket's second stage deployed the satellite into low-Earth orbit.

Its main instrument is a sensor that produces high-resolution black-and-white and colour images. The 450-kilogram spacecraft was the first such satellite built domestically by Taiwan, and succeeds Formosat-2, retired a year ago.

In another Facebook post before the launch, Tsai said FormoSat-5 was carrying Taiwanese technology as well as Taiwanese dream. The change in launch vehicles and delays in SpaceX's launch schedules, including those caused by two Falcon 9 failures in 2015 and 2016, significantly delayed the launch. The other six rocket landings have occurred at "Landing Zone 1", a SpaceX facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 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.

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