There's a 42-minute launch window, too, so the vehicle can take off up until 3:33PM ET. SpaceX reported no technical issues during the countdown, and foggy conditions at the launch site earlier in the morning partially cleared by launch time.
Weighing in at about a half-ton, or 475 kilograms, the Formosat 5 satellite doubles as an orbiting observatory to look down on Earth and as a pathfinder for Taiwan's future space ambitions. The second stage continued on toward orbit and deployed the satellite. SpaceX, during the launch webcast, declared the launch a success.
The satellite was constructed by the Taiwan National Space Organization.
In a video clip, President Tsai Ing-wen said the successful launch represented a "big leap" in Taiwan's space technology and urged scientists to continue working to make more breakthroughs. The satellite's primary instrument is an Earth-observing camera system capable of 2-meter resolution in black and white, and 4-meter resolution in color.More news: Tillerson Takes Shots At Russia In Ukrainian Independence Day Message
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The mission marked the 40th Falcon 9 launch and SpaceX's 12th successful launch in 2017, which has been the California-based company's busiest year to date.
SpaceX later discontinued the Falcon 1, moving Formosat-5 to a larger Falcon 9 vehicle. The larger, more powerful Falcon Heavy rocket is set for a demonstration launch later this year. With five months to go, SpaceX could launch 20 rockets by the end of the year at its current pace. The company also plans to launch another used booster in September. However, Spaceflight announced in March that it had chose to find alternative rides for those secondary payloads because of "significant" delays it expected in the Formosat-5 launch.
Following stage separation, Falcon 9's first stage successfully landed on the "Just Read the Instructions" droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean.