SpaceX launches Taiwan’s FORMOSAT-5 satellite into space


SpaceX has launched the FORMOSAT-5 remote sensing satellite into a low-Earth orbit from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, US.

Launched onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the latest mission was carried out on behalf of Taiwan’s National Space Organisation (NSPO).

It represents the first space programme of NSPO, which designed, developed and integrated the systems of the FORMOSAT-5.

After completing a lift-off lasting 11min and 16s, the satellite was deployed into its mission orbit.

"It represents the first space programme of NSPO, which designed, developed and integrated the systems of the FORMOSAT-5."

Afterwards, NSPO's satellite operations control centre in Hsinchu, Taiwan, received the state vector transmitted from SpaceX and took it to propagate for FORMOSAT-5’s orbit.

NSPOfurther noted that 82min and 56s after the launch, Svalbard station in Norway acquired the signal from the FORMOSAT-5 for the first pass.

After completing the necessary procedures, NSPO was able to successfully communicate with the FORMOSAT-5 from the Chungli ground station in Taiwan.

The satellite, which will continue to be operated by NSPO, is expected to undergo orbit adjustment and image calibration after completing the check on the satellite subsystem. After one month, the FORMOSAT-5 is set to begin its designated missions.

The FORMOSAT-5 programme is a part of the remote sensing mission approved by Taiwan’s National Science Council (now Ministry Of Science and Technology) in 2009 and features a remote sensing instrument (RSI) as its primary payload.

Developed in Taiwan, the RSI is capable of offering 2m resolution panchromatic and 4m resolution multi-spectral images.

The image can be used in disaster mitigation and relief, as well as environmental monitoring, homeland security, academic and technology research, rescue reference and other missions.

With a five-year mission life, the FORMOSAT-5 also features an advanced ionospheric probe (AIP), which can measure ionospheric plasma concentrations, velocities and temperatures.