Formosat-5 (Chinese: 福爾摩沙衛星五號) is an Earth observation satellite operated by the National Space Organization (NSPO) of Taiwan. It is NSPO's first indigenously developed remote sensing satellite.[4][5][6]

FORMOSAT-5 in orbit (artist concept).png
Artist's concept of Formosat-5 in orbit
Mission typeEarth observation
COSPAR ID2017-049A
SATCAT no.42920
Mission durationPlanned: 5 years
Elapsed: 3 years, 10 months, 26 days
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass475 kg (1,047 lb)[1]
Dimensions1.6 × 2.8 m (5.2 × 9.2 ft)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date24 August 2017, 18:51 (2017-08-24UTC18:51) UTC[2]
RocketFalcon 9 FT
Launch siteVandenberg SLC-4E
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Semi-major axis7,101.4 km (4,412.6 mi)
Perigee altitude716.6 km (445.3 mi)
Apogee altitude729.9 km (453.5 mi)
Period99.25 minutes
Epoch25 August 2017, 12:30:14 UTC[3]
FORMOSAT programme


The Remote Sensing Instrument (RSI) is the primary instrument aboard the spacecraft. It is composed of Telescope and Electrical Unit (EU). The Telescope consists of Optics, Structure Module (SM) and CMOS typed Focal Plane Assembly (FPA). The mission also incorporates a science payload, the Advanced Ionospheric Probe (AIP), for studies of ionospheric plasma physics.[7]

The satellite is capable of returning images with a resolution of 2 meters (in black and white) or 4 meters in color, but only in weather-permitting conditions.[8]


The satellite was flown from Taiwan to Los Angeles International Airport in the United States on 19 July 2017 via a China Airlines transport aircraft, and arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base on 26 July.[9][10] Launch took place on 24 August 2017 at 18:51 UTC from Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 4-East aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.[2]


Formosat-5 first transmitted images to Earth in September 2017, but the images were unclear.[8] The National Space Organization made modifications, allowing the satellite to return images at the desired resolution, but only in weather-permitting conditions.[8]

Formosat-5's project director is Chang Ho-pen (張和本).[8]


  1. ^ a b "Space Programs: FORMOSAT-5: Satellite". National Space Organization. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (25 August 2017). "Taiwanese satellite rides SpaceX rocket". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  3. ^ "FORMOSAT-5: TLE". 25 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Space Programs: FORMOSAT-5: Program Description". National Space Organization. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  5. ^ "FormoSat-5". eoPortal. European Space Agency. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  6. ^ "FORMOSAT 5". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Space Programs: FORMOSAT-5: Payloads". National Space Organization. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d Lin, Chia-nan (24 February 2018). "Taiwanese satellite nails image clarity". Taipei Times.
  9. ^ Tsao, Yu-fan; Kao, Evelyn; Chen, Christie (20 July 2017). "Taiwan's Formosat-5 satellite arrives in Los Angeles". Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  10. ^ Goh, Deyana (27 July 2017). "Taiwan's indigenous FORMOSAT-5 arrives at Vandenberg to prepare for SpaceX launch". SpaceTech Asia. Retrieved 25 August 2017.

External linksEdit

  Media related to FORMOSAT-5 at Wikimedia Commons