TAIPEI, Taiwan — Formosat-5, the first satellite developed by Taiwan, is scheduled to be launched on Aug. 25 in California, it was announced on Thursday.
Chang Guey-shin (張桂祥), director-general of the National Space Organization, said the satellite has been developed in conjunction with local academic and industrial sectors.
It took six years, more than 50 teams and cost NT$5.659 billion (US$186.37 million) to develop the optical remote sensing satellite, which will continue the remote sensing mission of Formosat-2.
Chang said images taken by Formosat-5 will be used to guide disaster inspection and prevention, identify landslide prone areas, conduct environmental monitoring, academic research and international humanitarian relief work.
He noted that Formosat-2 played a major role in rescue and reconstruction efforts following Typhoon Morakot which devastated southern Taiwan in 2009 and the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The 450-kg Formosat-5 will carry an atmospheric/ionospheric profiling scientific payload, which can be used to develop a weather model in space, monitor changes in plasma turbulence and study for potential changes in the ionosphere before earthquakes.
The launch of Formosat-5 was originally set for last year, but had to be pushed back several times after SpaceX, a U.S, company commissioned to conduct the launch, saw its Falcon 9 rocket and payload, the Amos-6 communications satellite, destroyed in an explosion last September, impacting the launch schedule of other satellites.
Formosat-2 , which conducted remote sensing imaging from May 2004, was decommissioned in mid-2016.
Since Taiwan started its space program in 1991, it has launched three satellites, the key parts of which were manufactured in other countries.
Formosat-1 was decommissioned in 2004 and weather satellite Formosat-3 remains in orbit.