SpaceX will launch its fortieth Falcon 9 Thursday, carrying the Formosat-5 spacecraft for the Republic of China’s National Space Organisation. The launch, which will include an attempt to land the first stage aboard the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship, is scheduled for a 44-minute window that opens at 11:50 local time (18:50 UTC) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Falcon 9 Launch:
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.
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.
Formosat-5 also carries the Advanced Ionospheric Probe, or AIP, package, which will study the behavior of plasma within Earth’s ionosphere. The spacecraft has a mass of 475 kilograms (1050 lb) and is expected to operate for at least five years. It will be placed into a near-polar sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of about 720 kilometers (447 miles, 389 nautical miles).
The Remote Sensing Imager is the primary instrument aboard Formosat-5. ...