Formosat-5 (Formosa Satellite 5; Chinese: 福爾摩沙衛星五號) is the first Earth observation satellite manufactured and operated solely by the National Space Organization, the national civilian space agency of Taiwan. The satellite was launched from a Falcon 9 rocket on 24 August 2017, and placed into a Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of about 720 km. Formosat-5 can capture color and more detailed monochrome images, along with measuring the ionosphere plasma's properties.

Artist's concept of Formosat-5
Mission typeEarth observation
COSPAR ID2017-049A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.42920
Mission durationPlanned: 5 years
Elapsed: 6 years, 8 months, 23 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

Spacecraft design edit

Formosat-5 primary goal is to demonstrate Taiwan's satellite manufacturing capabilities and produce data for various academic research. The satellite is 2.8 m tall, 1.6 m wide octagonal prism body, and weighs about 450 kg. Formosat-5 contains the Optical Telemetry Payload (Chinese: 光學遙測酬載) capturing color and monochrome images, and the Advanced Ionospheric Sounder (Chinese: 先進電離層探測儀) measuring the ionosphere.[4]

The Optical Telemetry Payload is the primary instrument aboard the spacecraft, composed of a telescope and an electrical unit. The telescope uses a CMOS chip designed to see four light wavelengths: blue, green, red, and near infrared. The chip also has a dedicated monochrome sensor with 12-bit color depth. The Optical Telemetry Payload has a 10GB storage device, which can store panoramas that take 8 minutes to capture.[4] Formosat-5 can capture images with a 2-meter resolution in black and white and 4 meters in color.[5]

Formosat-5 also contains a scientific payload, called Advanced Ionospheric Probe, that studies plasma physics and properties in the ionosphere.[6] This instrument can measure plasma composition, density, temperature, and flow rate. The Advanced Ionospheric Probe is expected to be sensitive enough to capture anomalies of the ionosphere before earthquakes.[4]

Other components of Formosat-5 include a power control and distribution unit, heaters, batteries, and foldable solar panels. The power control and distribution unit can output a voltage of 5.2V with a maximum wattage of 50W. Formosat-5's MIPS computer can process 20 million instructions per second, with high-speed data channels.[4]

Operation edit

Artist's concept of Formosat-5 in orbit

Formosat-5 is the National Space Organization's first indigenously developed observation satellite, directed by Chang Ho-pen (張和本).[7][8][9][5]

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.[10][11] Launch took place on 24 August 2017 at 18:51 UTC from Vandenberg Space Launch Complex 4 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.[2]

In September 2017, Formosat-5 transmitted its first images, which were blurry. A subsequent rescue mission fixed the satellite; however, it is limited to capturing images during good weather.[5]

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Space Programs: FORMOSAT-5: Satellite". National Space Organization. Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (25 August 2017). "Taiwanese satellite rides SpaceX rocket". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  3. ^ "FORMOSAT-5: TLE". 25 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "福爾摩沙衛星五號 - 國家太空中心". (in Chinese (Taiwan)). Archived from the original on 25 September 2020. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Lin, Chia-nan (24 February 2018). "Taiwanese satellite nails image clarity". Taipei Times. Archived from the original on 27 February 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Space Programs: FORMOSAT-5: Payloads". National Space Organization. Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Space Programs: FORMOSAT-5: Program Description". National Space Organization. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  8. ^ "FormoSat-5". eoPortal. European Space Agency. Archived from the original on 1 April 2021. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  9. ^ "FORMOSAT 5". Gunter's Space Page. Archived from the original on 2 January 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  10. ^ Tsao, Yu-fan; Kao, Evelyn; Chen, Christie (20 July 2017). "Taiwan's Formosat-5 satellite arrives in Los Angeles". Focus Taiwan. Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  11. ^ Goh, Deyana (27 July 2017). "Taiwan's indigenous FORMOSAT-5 arrives at Vandenberg to prepare for SpaceX launch". SpaceTech Asia. Archived from the original on 25 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.

External links edit

  Media related to FORMOSAT-5 at Wikimedia Commons