Mon, Feb 06, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Satellite project proceeding apace, official says in US


Preparations for the launch of FORMOSAT-3, the nation's third satellite project, are proceeding smoothly, an official from Taiwan's National Science Council (NSC) said in Los Angeles on Friday.

NSC Vice Chairman Shieh Ching-jyh (謝清志) made the remarks after inspecting FORMOSAT-3 launch preparatory work at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where the satellite is scheduled to be launched in the second half of next month.

Shieh took advantage of the Lunar New Year holiday to travel to Vandenberg to inspect preparatory work and cheer up staff working at the US Air Force base.

"Preparations for the forthcoming FORMOSAT-3 lift-off have proceeded smoothly as scheduled," Shieh said, adding that the international meteorological community is eagerly awaiting the launch of FORMOSAT-3 because it will be the world's first climate monitoring and forecasting system using a constellation of six microsatellites to collect atmospheric remote sensing data for operational weather prediction.

The FORMOSAT-3, also named the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC), is an international collaborative project between Taiwan's National Space Program Office and the US' University Corporation for Atmospheric Research which was launched in December 1997.

The satellite's mission will involve the placement of six microsatellites into six different orbits ranging between 700km and 800km above the earth's surface, Shieh said.

He added that the project is an academic research program undertaken with the goal of developing an advanced system for real-time monitoring of the globe's climate.

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