SpaceX Launches Formosat-5 Satellite, Lands Rocket (Photos)

Falcon 9 Lifts Off


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Formosat-5 Earth-observation satellite on Aug. 24, 2017. Read our wrap story here.

Rising Through the Clouds


The Falcon 9 rises into the California sky.

Stage Separation


The Falcon 9’s first and second stages separate, as seen from a second-stage camera.

Going Up and Going Down


The Falcon 9’s first stage goes down for landing (left) as the second stage continues to power Formosat-5 to orbit (right).

Falcon 9 First Stage Heads Home


The Falcon 9’s first stage heads toward its ocean touchdown on the drone ship “Just Read the Instructions.”



The Falcon 9’s first stage sits on the drone ship’s deck seconds after touching down.

Formosat-5 Deploys


The Formosat-5 satellite deploys from the Falcon 9 second stage.

Ready for Liftoff


The Falcon 9 and Formosat-5 sit poised for liftoff on Aug. 24, 2017.

Falcon 9 and Formosat-5 in the Fog

SpaceX via Twitter

Early-morning fog obscures a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and its payload, the Formosat-5 satellite, at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on launch day, Aug. 24, 2017.

Formosat-5 Static Fire Test 1


An Aug. 19, 2017, static-fire test of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, ahead of the planned Aug. 24 launch of Taiwan’s Formosat-5 satellite.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.