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Taiwan flexes technology muscles as FORMOSAT-5 readies for launch


At today's Cabinet meeting, Premier Lin Chuan touted Taiwan's space technology integration capabilities and wished the FORMOSAT-5 satellite a successful upcoming launch.

In remarks following a briefing on the FORMOSAT-5 program, the premier said FORMOSAT-5 is Taiwan's first homegrown satellite developed in collaboration by the National Space Organization of the National Applied Research Laboratories and Taiwan's industrial, academic and research sectors. To ready for the satellite's liftoff, scheduled for August in California, the government has completed all space environmental and functional testing as well as launch preparations.

The satellite program highlights Taiwan's advanced technology and systems integration capabilities, and credit is due to all the teams involved, the premier said. He asked the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to continue training space technology researchers and developers who can turn research results into value-added applications.

According to MOST, images captured by FORMOSAT-5 will have a wide range of uses including in government administration, disaster forecasting and mitigation, homeland security, environmental monitoring, technology diplomacy, academic research and international humanitarian assistance. Images from the earlier FORMOSAT-2 satellite, for instance, proved to be of significant value in disaster rescue and reconstruction operations for Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan and Japan's massive 2011 earthquake. FORMOSAT-5 will also carry the Advanced Ionospheric Probe science payload, which will be used in space weather modelling, detection of plasma irregularities, and research on pre-earthquake ionospheric anomalies.

FORMOSAT-5 will be delivered on July 19 to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for final verification testing and rocket integration. The satellite is slated to be launched on August 25 at 2:50 a.m., Taiwan time, aboard a SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corp.) Falcon 9 rocket. With celebration events planned for both the delivery and launch dates, all citizens are invited to witness another key moment in Taiwan's space technology history, MOST said.

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