SpaceX to launch Taiwanese satellite, land rocket stage

SpaceX goes for a dozen today, and to surpass Russia in launches

Vandenberg's next Falcon 9 rocket reportedly is targeting September 30, with another 10 Iridium Next communication satellites ready to head to space. According to SpaceX, the satellite will "promote space science experiments and research to enhance Taiwan's self-reliant space technology capabilities, and to continue to serve the users of FORMOSAT-2's global imagery services".

The satellite is the first to be fully designed by Taiwan's space agency and is meant to advance the nation's space technology and scientific research while providing global imagery with a wide array of uses. If SpaceX keeps up its momentum, it could launch 20 total rockets by the year's end.

About 10 minutes after the blastoff, SpaceX confirmed that it was able to successfully land the rocket's booster on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

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Today's launch also included a rocket recovery attempt for the Falcon 9's first-stage booster.

SpaceX is not a country, but if it were the company would be tied with Russian Federation for the most orbital launches of 2017.

The news wasn't all good for SpaceX, however.

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SpaceX is set to make its 12th rocket launch of the year today. But until then it's about working up to making another week, another rocket launch a reality.

These activities are part of SpaceX's effort to develop reusable spaceflight systems, which company founder and CEO Elon Musk has said could slash the cost of space exploration.

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers.

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