COSMIC-2 also known as FORMOSAT-7, is the constellation of satellites for meteorology, ionosphere, climatology, and space weather research. FORMOSAT-7 is a joint US-Taiwanese project including National Space Organization (NSPO) on the Taiwanese side and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United States Air Force (USAF) on the US side. FORMOSAT-7 is the successor of FORMOSAT-3[6] The six satellites of the constellation were launched 25 June 2019 on a Falcon Heavy rocket. They reached their designated mission orbits in February 2021, after eighteen months of gradual orbital adjustments.[8] Full operational capability was achieved in October 2021.[9]

model of COSMIC-2/FORMOSAT-7
Mission typeMeteorology, ionosphere, climatology, and space weather research
OperatorNational Space Organization
COSPAR ID2019-036L, 2019-036N, 2019-036E, 2019-036M, 2019-036V, 2019-036Q
SATCAT no.44349, 44351, 44343, 44350, 44358, 44353
Mission durationPlanned: 5 years[1]
Elapsed: 4 years, 9 months, 21 days
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerNational Space Organization and SSTL[2]
Launch mass6 × 300 kg (660 lb)[2]
DimensionsLength: 1.25 m, width: 1 m, height: 1.25 m[2]
Start of mission
Launch date25 June 2019, 06:30 (2019-06-25UTC06:30) UTC[3]
RocketFalcon Heavy Flight 3[4][5]
Launch siteKSC LC-39A[4]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
Inclination24°(Set 1)[6]
72°(Set 2, canceled)[7]
Period97 min[6]

Pre-launch edit

On the morning of 14 April 2019, President Tsai Ing-wen traveled to Hsinchu City to take part in send-off activities for the Formosat-7 satellite. She commended the hard work and accomplishments of the research and development team, and hailed Formosat-7 as a milestone in promoting Taiwan's technological diplomacy, noting that she expected the satellite would display the brilliance of Taiwan's aerospace technology on the international stage.[10]

On 15 April the satellites were placed aboard a Taiwanese China Airlines cargo plane at Taoyuan International Airport. The six satellites were packed in three climate controlled transport crates. The satellites were shipped as diplomatic pouch to speed their journey through US customs, the first time a satellite had been shipped as such.[11]

Design edit

The COSMIC-2 RO antenna prototype "Cafeteria Cups", fabricated out of 3D-printed FDM Ultem 9085, and inventor Dmitry Turbiner.

78% of components for the satellites were made in Taiwan.[12] The satellites receive signals from both GPS and GLONASS. The constellation collects more than 4,000 pieces of data a day.[13]

Radio-Occultation Payload edit

The primary payload for the COSMIC-2 Satellite is the Radio Occultation instrument.

This instrument is capable of measuring atmospheric effects by analyzing the propagation of GNSS signals through said atmosphere.[14]

The instrument is composed of the Tri-band GNSS (TriG) RO and POD Receiver[15] and four Antennas:

  • Two Radio Occultation Arrays (the Cafeteria Cups Antenna) one Forward, one Aft
  • Two Precise Orbit Determination Antennas, one Forward, one Aft

Cafeteria Cups Antenna edit

Each RO Antenna is composed of three vertical sub-arrays, four elements each.[16]

Each element is a two-turn Helical Spiral. The collected signals from the four vertical elements are combined with a low loss beamformer.

The name 'Cafeteria Cups' comes from the fact that the antenna elements in the very first prototype were made out of plastic cups from the JPL cafeteria.

The Antenna is fabricated out of 3D Printed FDM Ultem 9085.[17] This makes the COSMIC-2 RO antenna the first 3D printed part on the outside of a Spacecraft to be qualified to NASA Class 2B Spaceflight.

Launch edit

COSMIC-2 launched on SpaceX's Falcon Heavy from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A on 25 June 2019.

Post-launch edit

The first data from COSMIC-2 was made public in March 2020 with the new data improving the accuracy of weather forecasts by 10-11%. All six satellites reached their mission orbits by February 2021.[13] The mission achieved full operational capability in October 2021.[9]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ 朱則瑋 (3 August 2018). "取代福衛三號 福衛七號將成新太空溫度計". Central News Agency (Taiwan). 台北市: 中央社.
  2. ^ a b c "FORMOSAT-7 satellite". National Space Organization. Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  3. ^ 簡惠茹 (6 January 2019). "美方禮遇 我首度以外交郵包寄運福七". Liberty Times.
  4. ^ a b "FORMOSAT-7 launch-system". NSPO. Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  5. ^ 朱則瑋 (3 August 2018). "台灣另一個驕傲 福衛七號最快年底升空". 中央通訊社. 台北市: 中央社.
  6. ^ a b c "FORMOSAT-7 program-description". NSPO. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  7. ^ "不執行福衛七號第二組6枚衛星星系說明". 國家太空中心. 20 October 2017. Archived from the original on 6 January 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  8. ^ "All Formosat-7 satellites attain mission orbits". Taipei Times. 9 February 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  9. ^ a b "COSMIC-2 Achieves Full Operational Capability". NESDIS. NOAA. 12 October 2021. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  10. ^ "President Tsai attends Formosat-7 send-off ceremony". Office of the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan). 2019-04-14. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  11. ^ Everington, Keoni (15 April 2019). "Taiwan's FormoSat-7 group shipped to Florida for launch". Taiwan News. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  12. ^ Strong, Matthew (15 November 2019). "France's Arianespace wins bid to launch Taiwan satellite in 2021". Taiwan News. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  13. ^ a b Szu-yun, Su; Liu, Kay. "All Taiwan's FormoSat-7 space project satellites reach mission orbit". Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  14. ^ Ding, Tong; Awange, Joseph L.; Scherllin‐Pirscher, Barbara; Kuhn, Michael; Anyah, Richard; Zerihun, Ayalsew; Bui, Luyen K. (16 September 2022). "GNSS Radio Occultation Infilling of the African Radiosonde Data Gaps Reveals Drivers of Tropopause Climate Variability". Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 127 (17). Bibcode:2022JGRD..12736648D. doi:10.1029/2022JD036648. hdl:20.500.11937/91903. S2CID 251652497.
  15. ^ "Avionics: TriG RO and TriG POD" (PDF). Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  16. ^ US 9190724, Turbiner, Dmitry, "Phased antenna array for global navigation satellite system signals", published 2015-11-17, assigned to California Institute of Technology 
  17. ^ "3D Printed Satellite Exterior | NASA Case Study | Stratasys Direct". Stratasys. Retrieved 28 October 2019.

External links edit