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FormoSat-7 launched time pushed back by three hours

2019/06/25 13:17:11

Orlando, June 24 (CNA) FormoSat-7, the second satellite constellation jointly developed by Taiwan and the United States, is set to be launched at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday (Taiwan time), three hours after the originally planned time.

The scheduled launch time of the satellite was pushed back from its originally scheduled launch time of 11:30 a.m. (Taiwan time) because of a "No Go" reading on one of the checks conducted during the countdown process.

But the reason for the problem was found and eliminated, allowing the countdown to continue, said Taiwan Science Minister Chen Liang-gee (陳良基).

The new time is three hours into the four-hour launch window, so if another problem surfaces, the launch will likely be delayed for at least another 24 hours.

The satellite will be sent into orbit by the Falcon Heavy rocket developed by SpaceX. It will be the rocket's third flight overall and its first night flight and its first mission to launch multiple satellites into orbit.

Prior to the satellite's launch from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, John J. Norris Jr., the managing director of the Washington office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), said the event reflected the comprehensive U.S.-Taiwan relationship.

The launch of FormoSat-7 shows significant progress in the U.S.-Taiwan relationship as the two sides commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) this year, Norris said, and he looked forward to seeing more cooperation in science and technology between American and Taiwanese scientists.

Elsayed Talaat, the director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Satellite and Information Service, told CNA at the space center that the two countries have expanded cooperation since jointly developing the FormoSat-3 on a trial basis.

That cooperation has made important contributions to the U.S.'s forecasting system, and the FormoSat-7, equipped with state-of-the-art instruments and equipment, will be able to help further improve the accuracy of forecasts, Talaat said.

FormoSat-3, which was launched in 2006 and was originally predicted to have a five-year lifespan, has far exceeded its originally planned five-year mission.

FormoSat-7, also called COSMIC-2 (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate), was designed to replace FormoSat-3 and collect more accurate data than its predecessor, Talaat said, and should also last beyond its projected 5-year lifespan.

Tuesday's launch will be watched by Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the National Space Organization in Hsinchu through video feeds from John F. Kennedy Space Center, said Shiau Wen-tzong (蕭文宗), the head of FormoSat-7 operations.

(By Chiang Ching-yeh and Evelyn Kao)
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