The Latest: Satellite for Taiwan launched from California

The Latest on the launch of a satellite for Taiwan by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (all times local):

12:01 p.m.

SpaceX has successfully landed the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean during the launch of an Earth-observation satellite for Taiwan.

The Falcon 9 lifted off at 11:51 a.m. PDT on Thursday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, carrying the Formosat-5 satellite.

Minutes later the first stage separated and began its return, aiming for the unmanned ship named Just Read the Instructions.

Less than 11 minutes after launch, the first stage set down on the vessel, the latest success in SpaceX's drive for reusability.

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


11:55 a.m.

An Earth-observation satellite for Taiwan's National Space Organization has been launched from California.

The Formosat-5 satellite lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:51 a.m. PDT on Thursday atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX will attempt to land the rocket's first stage on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean while the second stage continues toward orbit.

The satellite is the first to be fully designed by Taiwan's space agency and is intended to advance the nation's space technology and scientific research while providing global imagery with a wide array of uses.

Its main instrument is a sensor that produces high-resolution black-and-white and color images.