Space Science & Technology

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The National Space Organization (NSPO) of NARLabs is a government-supported body that coordinates all Taiwan's space research and space technology development programs with scientific and commercial goals. NSPO is currently managing three major satellite programs: FORMOSAT-5, FORMOSAT-7 and FORMOSAT-8. The execution strategy will focus on meeting Taiwan's national needs, carrying out satellite programs, promoting academic research and industrial development, improving Taiwan's overall space technology development capacity, and developing added value to the domestic industry.

The development of the optical remote sensing instrument for FORMOSAT-5

The optical remote sensing instrument (RSI) of FORMOSAT-5 is providing images with grounding resolution equal to 2m in black-and-white and 4m in color. Concerning the independent development of the RSI, NSPO has  completed the building of the instrument, setting a new milestone in Taiwan's space technology.

FORMOSAT-5 Program Description

FORMOSAT-5 is the first space program that National Space Organization (NSPO) takes full responsibility for the complete satellite system engineering design including payload(s). The program’s mission is as follows:

To build up Taiwan's self-reliant space technology on the remote sensing payload and spacecraft bus,

To develop the key components of the EO-type remote sensing instrument and spacecraft bus integrating domestic resources,

To continue to serve the global imagery users' community of FORMOSAT-2, and

To promote space science research and experimentation.

FORMOSAT-5 operates in a sun synchronous orbit at 720-km altitude with 98.28-degree inclination angle. Similar to FORMOSAT-2, an optical Remote Sensing Instrument (RSI), which provides 2-m resolution panchromatic (PAN, black & white) and 4-m resolution multi-spectral (MS, color) images, is the primary payload on FORMOSAT-5. The primary payload consists of one PAN band with 12,000 pixels and four MS bands with 6000 pixels each. In addition, a secondary payload, a scientific instrument, i.e., Advanced Ionospheric Probe (AIP), was developed by The National Central University (NCU). FORMOSAT-5 was launched by SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on August 25, 2017 and both payloads are operating normally.

FORMOSAT-7 Program Description

FORMOSAT-7 is equipped with a GNSS-R, which can receive GPS signals from the United States and GLONASS signals from Russia. By measuring radio occultation signals, such as humidity, and the electron concentration of the ionosphere can be derived.  After the deployment of the FORMOSAT-7 constellation with an altitude of 550 kilometers and an inclination angle of 24 degrees, the earth in about 97 minutes. They can provide about 4,000 data per day between 50 degrees north and south latitudes. The amount of data in the vicinity of Taiwan is about 3 to 4 times that of FORMOSAT-3, which greatly increases meteorological data in low-latitude regions including Taiwan. Observation data provided by CWB of Ministry of Communications can be incorporated in a numerical forecasting system to improve the accuracy of domestic weather forecasts and the forecast accuracy of severe weather (including typhoon paths and rainfall). FORMOSAT-7 can provide an average of 4,000 points of atmospheric data every day, which is of great help to weather forecast, climate observation, and space weather monitoring.