Final preparations underway for launch of Taiwan’s Formosat-5

Los Angeles, Aug. 18 (CNA) Final preparations are underway for the launch of Formosat-5, Taiwan's first domestically developed satellite, from a U.S. air base next week, a Taiwanese official said Friday.

The satellite, which arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California last month, is scheduled to be sent into space on Aug. 24.

Chang Ho-pen (???), director of the Formosat-5 project at Taiwan's National Space Organization (NSPO), told CNA that testing conducted over the past weeks indicated that the satellite was functioning normally.

Although it took quite some time to integrate Formosat-5 with its launch vehicle, the Falcon 9 rocket, the work has been completed successfully, Chang said.

Through Formosat-5, Taiwan will show the world that it is capable of independently building satellites, he said.

The satellite was designed by the NSPO and built by more than 50 domestic teams, including ones from Taiwan's CMOS Sensor Inc. and National Central University.

The high-resolution optical remote-sensing satellite is Taiwan's fourth satellite since its space program started in 1991 and the first to be fully produced domestically, from design and manufacture to assembly and testing.

It is designed to replace Formosat-2, which was retired last August.

The new Formosat-5 will collect data for scientific research, passing over Taiwan once every two days, according to the NSPO.

The satellite will provide 2-meter panchromatic and 4-meter multispectral resolution images for a wide array of applications, including government administration, disaster forecasting and mitigation, national security, environmental observation, international technological exchanges, academic research and international humanitarian assistance, the NSPO said.

In addition, it carries an Advanced Ionospheric Probe (AIP) scientific payload, which can be used to develop weather models in space, monitor ionospheric disturbances and study seismic precursors associated with earthquakes, the organization said.

It took six years and cost NT$5.7 billion (US$191.52 million) to develop the 450kg satellite which is 2.8 meters high, and 1.6 meters in diameter, according to the NSPO.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel