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Satnews Daily
July 17th, 2017

Taiwan - FORMOSAT-5 Ships to Vandenberg AFB for SpaceX Launch

Diagram of Taiwan's FORMOSAT-5 satellite.
Image is courtesy of NSPO.

FORMOSAT-5, the first domestically developed satellite operated by Taiwan’s National Space Organization (NSPO), was packaged and shipped to the U.S. over the past weekend for the launch by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on August 25 (Taiwan Time) in California, according to a report in the Taiwan News written by Teng Pei-ju.

This is the first remote sensing satellite designed, manufactured, and controlled by the NSPO and domestic teams and the satellite succeeds FORMOSAT-2, which was decommissioned in 2016. FORMOSAT-5 will embark on a five-year mission, orbiting the globe to conduct Earth Observation (EO) missions,, according to the NSPO.

Premier Lin Chuan (æž—å…¨) visited the NSPO in Hsinchu on Saturday to oversee the final shipment preparation of the satellite. "We hope to push for the cooperation or expansion of the satellite-related industries and create opportunities for collaborations between Taiwan and other countries on manufacturing satellites," he said.

The high-resolution images taken by FORMOSAT-5 will be able to contribute to state governance, national security, technological diplomacy, academic research, environmental monitoring, disaster prevention and relief, and international humanitarian relief, said Chen Liang-gee, the head of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

In collaboration with more than 50 industries and research institutes, the NSPO has been researching and developing this  satellite since 2009, with a budget of more than NT$5 billion dollars (US$180 million), he added.   

Chang Guey-shin, director general of the NSPO, said that the satellite is due to arrive in the U.S. on July 20 where the spacecraft will undergo final testing prior to being integrated into Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket on August 16 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The launch of FORMOSAT-5 was originally scheduled for 2016 but was delayed due to an explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket in September, which disrupted the SpaceX launch schedules. Falcon 9 is a two-stage launch vehicle that can transport satellites and spacecraft into Earth orbit and was built by SpaceX, a private aerospace company established by Tesla founder Elon Musk in 2012 — Falcon 9 is the first rocket that is capable of re-use of the vehicle's first stage.