Team behind Taiwan's FormoSat-5 satellite to meet with President Tsai

2018/02/22 22:23:38 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Team behind Taiwan's FormoSat-5 satellite to meet with President Tsai

Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) The team of engineers and technicians behind FormoSat-5, Taiwan's first self-made satellite, is scheduled to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday, according to a senior executive of the National Space Organization (NSPO).

"A mission impossible task was achieved," NSPO Deputy Director General Yu Shiann-jeng (余憲政) told CNA on Thursday.

The satellite was given the task of conducting a topographic map over Taiwan after it was launched from the U.S. Vandenberg Air Force Base on August 25, 2017.

Its mapping mission began in September and lasted through December.

The mission was completed in a short span of three months, a feat that previously took FormoSat-2, which was decommissioned in 2016, at least six months to accomplish, according to Yu.

Without the team's experience, the mission could not have been finished in such a short time span, the deputy director said, praising team members for achieving a first for Taiwan.

Bad, cloudy weather initially had an impact on the images captured by the satellite, Yu said, but the quality of the photos taken by FormoSat-5 later improved with the team's efforts to adjust the focus, and they are now of commercial value.

Commercial value images have resolutions of 3 meters per pixel for panchromatic images (essentially black-and-white pictures) and 5 meters per pixel for multi-spectral images (those that capture bands of colors).

FormoSat-5, an octagonal shaped mini-satellite that is 2.8 meters in height and 1.6 meters in diameter, was designed and built by the NSPO.

Previous satellites were built with parts purchased from the United States.

The satellite's mission is to advance and demonstrate Taiwan's indigenous space technology in the field of remote sensing satellites, to continue to serve global imagery users previously served by FormoSat-2, and to promote domestic space science research, according to the NSPO.

FormoSat-5 carries an optical remote sensing payload and a science payload to execute remote sensing missions and perform scientific research, respectively.

During the team's meeting with President Tsai on Friday, they are scheduled to present an incredible photo of Taiwan to her, Yu said.

(By Chu Che-wei and Ko Lin)
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