VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE ( – Hawthorne-based SpaceX successfully launched a Taiwanese satellite into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base Thursday.

The launch of the FORMOSAT-5 satellite just before noon was the 12th SpaceX 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 also successfully recovered the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, landing it on a barge floating in the Pacific Ocean. The barge, or “droneship,” is whimsically named “Just Read the Instructions.”

It was the 15th time SpaceX has successfully recovered the first stage of a rocket following a launch.

SpaceX has been working to perfect its system of recovering rockets for reuse in future missions.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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