Tue, Jun 25, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Formosat-7 set for launch today

‘STUNNING’:The satellite, scheduled for launch at 11:30am in Florida, would be able to collect more accurate worldwide meteorological data, the science minister said

By Chien Hui-ju and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer, in Florida and Taipei

Members of the Formosat-7 team pose in front of the satellite at the National Space Organization in Hsinchu in an undated photograph.

Photo: Chien Hui-ju, Taipei Times

Taiwan would “stun the world” with the precision of weather data collected by the Formosat-7 satellite cluster after it launches this morning, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said yesterday.

The satellites, which enter their launch window at 11:30 this morning, are to be launched on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“We are ready to surprise the world with our space technology,” Chen said, speaking to reporters in Florida.

Chen said that he traveled to Florida personally to demonstrate the high level of importance the ministry placed on its cooperation with the US’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Taiwanese scientists would handle the processing of atmospheric data received from the satellite, he said, adding that the quality of Taiwanese space-related research and equipment was the basis for the ongoing close relationship between the ministry and the NOAA.

Formosat-7 would be able to collect more accurate worldwide meteorological data than any other satellite before it, he said.

The Falcon Heavy, which is designed with a partly reusable rocket architecture, has the highest payload capacity of any currently operational launch vehicle.

Both side boosters were recovered from the Falcon Heavy flight that took a Tesla Roadster into orbit on Feb 6 last year, and all three boosters were recovered from the flight that carried the Arabsat-6A communications satellite into orbit on April 11.

The side boosters from the Arabsat launch are being reused for today’s launch, SpaceX said.

The Falcon Heavy is adapted from the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, comprising a reinforced Falcon 9 first-stage rocket at its center, with two additional first-stage modular rockets.

It has a maximum theoretical payload capacity of 63,800kg for flights into low-Earth orbits, and has the highest thrust of any launch vehicle since 1970.

Today’s launch would carry 24 satellites into orbit, including the six-satellite Formosat-7 cluster (also known as cosmic-2).

It would also carry the US military’s Demonstration and Science Experiments satellite, NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission satellite, Michigan Technological University’s Oculus-ASR satellite for research into orbiting objects, Surrey Satellite Technology’s Orbital Test Bed satellite, the US Navy’s ParkinsonSAT technology demonstration satellite and Georgia Tech’s Prox 1 automated trajectory control demonstration satellite.

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