All Taiwan's FormoSat-7 space project satellites reach mission orbit

02/08/2021 04:14 PM
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The National Space Organization
The National Space Organization's satellite control center. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) All six of Taiwan's FormoSat-7 space project satellites, which were launched to improve weather forecasting, have reached their mission orbits, the Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement on Monday.

The satellites, launched by SpaceX into a 720-kilometer circular orbit in June 2019, have been gradually moved into their designated mission orbits of 540-550km over the past 18 months and the process was completed on Feb. 3, according to the statement.

The project is a joint operation between Taiwan's National Space Organization and the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve weather data collection in the tropics, the ministry said.

By moving the satellites into their mission orbits, they are better able cover the area 50 degrees north and south of the equator and make up for the lack of related weather data.

Data collected by the constellation formed by the six satellites were first made available on a trial basis in December 2019 before formally being made public on March 7, 2020, according to the ministry, adding that the data have already helped improve the accuracy of weather forecasting by 10-11 percent.

According to the National Space Organization, the FormoSat-7 satellites can "receive GPS signals from the United States and GLONASS signals from Russia" and "by measuring radio occultation signals, atmospheric parameters such as humidity and the electron concentration of the ionosphere can be derived."

The FormoSat-7 constellation can collect 4,000 pieces of data per day, the ministry said.

This means forecasters can use the data to better predict the formation of typhoons and their movement, according to the ministry.

In addition to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau and research teams at National Central University and National Cheng Kung University, research bodies under the NOAA and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, as well as meteorological organizations around the world are using data collected by FormoSat-7, the ministry said.

(By Su Szu-yun and Kay Liu)


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