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SpaceX launches FORMOSAT-5 – first satellite built, designed in Taiwan

California-based space company, SpaceX, today launched the FORMOSAT-5 satellite – the first satellite designed and built entirely in Taiwan. With an aim to boost disaster forecasts and mapping, environmental observation and space research, FORMOSAT-5 weighs nearly 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) and blasted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 11:51 am (1851 GMT). “Falcon 9 has lifted off,” SpaceX engineer Lauren Lyons said as the rocket soared into the sky over the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, leaving billowing clouds of smoke in its wake.  The satellite is designed to last for five years, and will orbit the Earth once every 100 minutes. Its predecessor, FORMOSAT-2, was decommissioned last year after 12 years, a lifespan in which it mapped a series of major disasters in parts of Asia and Africa.

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