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One more step forward for launching FORMOSAT-5

In preparation of replacing FORMOSAT-2, an on-orbit Earth observation satellite launched in 2004, the NARL’s National Space Organization (NSPO) conducted and completed the program-level Preliminary Design Review (PDR), the fourth of seven critical checkpoints, for FORMOSAT-5 on December 16, 2010.

The program of FORMOSAT-5, which is scheduled to be launched in 2014, strives to: 1) building up Taiwan’s self-reliant space technology on the remote sensing payload and spacecraft bus; 2) developing the key components of the EO-type remote sensing instrument and spacecraft bus by mobilizing expertise and resources from the country; 3) ensuing FORMOSAT-2’s current global services for high-resolution photographic surveillance; and 4) promoting space science research. 

The national co-operative team for FORMOSAT-5 is composed of the NARL’s NSPO, Instrument Technology Research Center(ITRC) and National Chip Implementation Center(CIC), and other academic and industrial sectors in the country. And key specifications of FORMOSAT-5 include: 1) sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) at 720 km; 2) revisit period of every other day; 3) a swath of 24 km; and 4) ground sample distance (GSD) of PAN (panchromatic for black and white) and MS (multispectral for color) at 2.0 m and 4.0 m, respectively. In the past year, this inter-institutional team has completed the technology design of the system architecture and configuration that covers space segment, launch segment and ground segment (i.e., image processing, image applications, etc.). All of these research and development outputs have been audited and recently subjected to the PDR.

According to the detailed entry and exit criteria articulated in the FORMOSAT-5 Master Schedule, an independent PDR panel consisted of professional specialists from various related sectors closely reviewed each configuration item or aggregate of configuration items to evaluate the progress, technical adequacy, and risk resolution (on a technical, cost, and schedule basis) of the selected design approach of hardwares and softwares. The panel was satisfied with the design and encouraged the team to move forward. And at the closing session of the PDR, Yeong-Her Wang, the NARL’s vice president, expressed his appreciations to the PDR panel for their critical review and to the research team for their endeavor in laying sound foundation for the FORMOSAT-5 program, which is subjected to the Critical Design Review (CDR) in December 2011.