Wed, Feb 27, 2019 - Page 1 News List

AIT head opens joint astronomy exhibition at museum

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen speaks at the opening ceremony for a joint Taiwan-US space and astronomy exhibition at the Taipei Astronomical Museum in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen yesterday unveiled a joint Taiwan-US space and astronomy exhibition at the Taipei Astronomical Museum, part of a series of events organized to mark the 40th anniversary of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the exhibition, which is to run through March 31, Christensen said that February was designated a science month as Taiwan and the US celebrate the 40 years of close cooperation in science and technology.

“This exhibit showcases the results of our strong partnership and highlights different aspects of US-Taiwan space and astronomy cooperation in particular,” Christensen said.

“We have worked together to develop weather satellites, a particle physics detector that sits onboard the International Space Station and the world’s largest grouping of telescopes to study outer space,” he said.

The exhibition also serves as a prelude to the launch of Formosat-7/COSMIC-2, the second satellite constellation jointly developed by Taiwan and the US, Christensen said.

The programs on display are just one part of the US’ deep and broad cooperation with Taiwan, he said.

The National Space Organization has said that the Formosat-7/COSMIC-2 satellite constellation is ready to be transported to the US, where it would be launched by US-based Space Exploration Technologies, commonly known as SpaceX, from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the company’s newest rocket, the Falcon Heavy.

Taiwan and the US first began cooperation in the areas of space and astronomy in 1994, when they jointly designed and manufactured a scientific satellite, Formosat-1, the AIT said.

That was followed in 1995 by the development of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) particle physics experiment module for the International Space Station, a 16-nation program that involved 600 scientists from 60 universities and research institutes, the AIT said.

Other examples of Taiwan-US cooperation include the 2017 launch of Taiwan’s first domestically developed remote sensing satellite, Formosat-5, by SpaceX, as well as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array project, a powerful ground-based astronomical observatory, the AIT said.

The exhibition features some of the fruits of Taiwan-US collaboration, including a one-fifth-scale model of AMS-02 and a model of Formosat-7.

The museum said that it would invite specialists to give lectures at 2pm on March 9, March 16 and March 30.

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