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Falcon rocket with satellite for Taiwan launches from Vandenberg

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Taiwan’s National Space Organization satellite lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Taiwan’s National Space Organization satellite lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. AP

The year’s third Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base lifted off on Thursday, en route to delivering a satellite into orbit for the Taiwanese government.

The Space Exploration Technologies booster blasted off at 11:50 a.m. at the beginning of a 42-minute launch window from Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base.

While the upper portion of the rocket continued toward space, the used first-stage booster landed on a droneship, “Just Read the Instructions,” in the Pacific Ocean about 11 minutes later, which made Falcon three for three for touch-downs following Vandenberg missions.

It was the 15th successful landing for the a first-stage booster by SpaceX, with the others occurring following Florida launches.

The Formosat-5, an Earth observation satellite built by Taiwan’s National Space Organization, successfully deployed more than 11 minutes after liftoff.

Vandenberg’s next Falcon 9 rocket reportedly is targeting Sept. 30, with another 10 Iridium Next communication satellites ready to head to space.

Before that mission, Vandenberg’s launch manifest calls for a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launch with a top-secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. ULA officials said the mission is aiming for Sept. 14 from Space Launch Complex-3, also on South Base.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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