At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a briefing by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on preparations for the launch of Taiwan's FORMOSAT-7 satellite constellation. He applauded Taiwan's contributions to the field of astronomy, referencing this week's unveiling of an image of a black hole, the first ever captured in human history. Taiwan played key roles in the installation and maintenance of three of the eight radio telescope facilities that captured the stunning image, which was released Wednesday evening (Taiwan time) at simultaneous press conferences in six nations including Taiwan, the United States and Japan.
FORMOSAT-7's upcoming launch in the U.S. marks a major milestone in Taiwan's aerospace technology development as well as scientific and technological collaboration with the U.S., the premier said. In addition to advancing substantive cooperation and technological diplomacy between the two sides, the mission is expected to collect meteorological data for a wide range of practical applications, including for agricultural and water resource planning, typhoon and hurricane track forecasting, international scientific research collaborations, and development of Taiwan's aerospace tech industry.
MOST said in its briefing that FORMOSAT-7 is a large-scale collaborative project jointly administered by the National Space Organization (NSPO) in Taiwan and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. Taiwan is responsible for mission system design, the spacecraft bus, and development of the satellite operation system, while the U.S. is providing three payload instruments and the launch vehicle. Both sides will cooperate in data processing and application platform development.
The FORMOSAT-7's various components have all been packaged and will be transported on April 14 from the NSPO in Hsinchu to the Taoyuan international airport. From there, the constellation will depart on April 15 via air cargo to Cape Canaveral in Florida, where pre-launch tests, fueling and launch preparations will take place, MOST said.