SpaceX launched its fortieth Falcon 9 Thursday, carrying the Formosat-5 spacecraft for the Taiwan’s National Space Organisation and the Republic of China’s National Space Organisation. The launch, which included a successful landing of the first stage aboard the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship, occurred at the start of a 44-minute window that opened at 11:50 local time (18:50 UTC) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Formosat-5 is an Earth remote sensing satellite which was built and operated by the National Space Organisation of the Republic of China (Taiwan). It is the first spacecraft larger than a CubeSat to be developed and constructed by the Republic of China, although Taiwanese officials proudly insist this is an ingenious spacecraft. Equipped with the Remote Sensing Imager (RSI) payload, providing multispectral and panchromatic imaging capabilities, Formosat-5 will replace the Formosat-2 satellite which was retired last August.”

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