Tsai hails FormoSat-7 launch as Taiwan space technology milestone

2019/06/25 18:45:13 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
President Tsai Ing-wen at National Space Organization in Hsinchu.

President Tsai Ing-wen at National Space Organization in Hsinchu.

Taipei, June 25 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Tuesday lauded the launch of FormoSat-7, the second satellite constellation jointly built by Taiwan and the U.S., as a milestone in Taiwan space technology.

Formosat-7 was launched into orbit by Space X's Falcon Heavy rocket at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday Taipei time from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with representatives of Taiwan's National Space Organization (NSPO) and President Tsai watching the launch live at NSPO in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

FormoSat-7 sent into space by successful SpaceX liftoff (photo by Reuters)

Tsai attributed the achievement to the hard work of the entire research and development team, saying“every one of you is a space hero and the pride of Taiwan."

Tsai said the launch of the Formosat-5 in August 2017 proved to the world that Taiwan has independent space research and development capability, and with the launch of FormoSat-7, the country now shines bright on the international stage.

Formosat-5, another earth observation satellite operated by NSPO, was launched on August 24 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

photo by AP

Formosat-7 is the largest cooperative project between Taiwan and the U.S., Tsai said, adding that the satellite will undertake meteorological observations free from the restrictions of geography or weather, enabling Taiwan to obtain more accurate meteorological data.

The collected data, she said, can be shared with other nations for the benefit of mankind as a whole.

Also at the launch, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen said the FormoSat-7 demonstrates that Taiwan's contributions and cutting edge technology extend not just around the world, but also above it.

“Our shared traditions of innovation and entrepreneurship are ensuring that we all benefit from our ongoing scientific engagement as we face the challenges of the 21st century,”he said.

According to the NSPO, 91 minutes into the launch, FormoSat-7 detached from the rocket that carried it and is set to connect to a satellite signal station in Taiwan at about 9:00 p.m. Taipei time, when a press conference is scheduled.

photo by AP

Roughly three hours after launch, the satellite passed over a signal reception station in Darwin, Australia, the organization said in a press release.

FormoSat-7, the second joint development by Taiwan and the U.S., will replace FormoSat-3, the first Taiwan-U.S. collaborative space program, with state-of-the-art instruments and equipment that collect meteorological, ionospheric 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.

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