SpaceX successfully launches its 12th Falcon 9 rocket of 2017

After the rocket's nine Merlin 1D engines pass an automated health check the Falcon 9 is released from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Air Force Base California

A SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched a long-delayed remote sensing satellite for the government of Taiwan Aug. 24, executing another first stage landing in the process. The event will be streamed live.

SpaceX plans to launch an Earth-observing satellite into orbit on Thursday and then attempt to land the Falcon 9 booster rocket on a platform offshore.

About 2.5 minutes after launch, the rocket's two stages separated.

The satellite was constructed by the Taiwan National Space Organization. SpaceX later discontinued the Falcon 1, moving Formosat-5 to a larger Falcon 9 vehicle.

The main payload of Formosat-5 is an optical "Remote Sensing Instrument", which will provide 6.5-foot (2 meters) resolution for black-and-white images and 13-foot (4 m) resolution for multi-spectral color images, SpaceX representatives wrote in a mission overview. The larger, more powerful Falcon Heavy rocket is set for a demonstration launch later this year. SpaceX has recovered 15 Falcon 9 first stages in total. The company began reusing its boosters this year - its first successful booster landing was in December 2015 - in an effort to cut down on launch costs.

What's more, SpaceX's mission was to send the first exclusively-made Taiwanese satellite to space.

The launch was the 12th Falcon 9 mission of 2017, and the second in 10 days, after the launch of a Dragon cargo spacecraft August 14 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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