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New satellite will enhance Taiwan's disaster preparedness: Tsai

2019/02/21 23:00:35

Photo courtesy of the National Space Organization

Taipei, Feb. 21 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Thursday that she expects the new satellite constellation FormoSat-7/COSMIC-2 to serve as an efficient instrument for meteorological monitoring and disaster preparedness.

FormoSat-7, the second satellite constellation jointly developed by Taiwan and the United States, is scheduled to be launched from Kennedy Space Center this year.

During a visit to the National Space Organization (NSPO) in Taipei on Thursday, Tsai said the successful launch of FormoSat-5 -- Taiwan's first domestically developed remote sensing satellite -- last year proved that Taiwan is capable of carrying out its own research and development of remote sensing satellites.

Referring to FormoSat-7 as the greatest U.S.-Taiwan collaborative space program, Tsai said the satellite is designed to collect meteorology data at low latitudes and to provide information that will support disaster prevention and relief.

In addition, the president said, the satellite will allow Taiwan to contribute more to efforts against climate change and to sustainable development.

FormoSat-7 will replace FormoSat-3, the first Taiwan-U.S. collaboration space program, with state-of-the-art instruments and equipment to collect meteorology, ionosphere and climate data.

Jointly developed by the NSPO and the U.S.'s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the new satellite platform will deploy six satellites into low inclination orbits to provide low and mid-latitude ionosphere data.

Each satellite is equipped with three U.S.-built payloads, including a radio occultation (RO) receiver that receives global navigation satellite system signals from global positioning systems and Russian global navigation system satellites, according to the NSPO.

Chu Chung-huei (朱崇惠), chief of the FormoSat-7 program, said FormoSat-7 can generate three to four times the volume of data generated by FormoSat-3 and increase the accuracy of weather forecast by 10 percent.

With the signing of its third space program document, Taiwan is aiming to play an indispensable role in the international space industry and supply chain, President Tsai said.

According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan's third space program will focus on developing satellites and related technology over the next decade, thus enabling the government to better safeguard the nation.

The satellites that will be developed between 2019 and 2028 will include high-resolution and ultra-high-resolution optical remote sensing satellites, and synthetic aperture radar satellites, the ministry said.

(By Liu Lee-jung and Chung Yu-chen)