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FormoSat-5's resolution woes an optical calibration issue: NSPO

2018/01/03 15:12:41

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 3 (CNA) Problems with the optical calibration instrument of the FormoSat-5 could be to blame for the domestically developed satellite's recent photo resolution issues, an official of the National Space Organization (NSPO) said Wednesday.

NSPO Deputy Director General Yu Shiann-jeng (余憲政) said the organization has ruled out the possibility that something happened during the transport or launch of Taiwan's first self-made satellite to cause the images produced by FormoSat-5 to be blurry and contain light spots.

The NSPO now thinks the instrument responsible for optical calibration may be the culprit because of a possible lack of precision that is causing poor resolution, Yu said.

The instrument was purchased from abroad, and the NSPO is looking into whether the problem is that the instrument is not compatible with FormoSat-5 or something else, Yu said.

Following initial reports in September 2017 that FormoSat-5 was producing out of focus images, NSPO quickly assembled a team to fix the problem.

By late November, Yu told reporters that FormoSat-5's photo quality was of commercial value after adjusting the temperature and refocusing the remote-sensing instrument using a technique called deconvolution.

Achieving commercial value meant image resolutions of 3 meters per pixel for panchromatic images (essentially black-and-white) and 5 meters per pixel for multi-spectral (capturing bands of colors) images.

But that still falls short of the NSPO's goal of 2 meters per pixel for panchromatic images and 4 meters per pixel for multi-spectral images.

The NSPO is hoping that the quality of the satellite's images sent from space will improve as the team of experts works to get to the bottom of the problem, Yu said.

(By Chu Tze-wei and Kuan-lin Liu)