New satellites pending
The launch date for FORMOSAT-5, a remote-sensing satellite, is scheduled for 2014, while 12 meteorological satellites under the FORMOSAT-7 program are scheduled to be launched in 2015 and 2017, the Hsinchu-based National Space Organization (NSO) said yesterday. The satellites under the FORMOSAT-7 program, a joint venture between Taiwan and the US, will be launched at two different times because of limited staff and testing facilities, the NSO said. NSO deputy director-general Yu Shiann-jeng (余憲政) said that because the organization was currently carrying out the FORMOSAT-5 program, it is unable to test the 12 FORMOSAT-7 satellites. Six of the meteorological satellites under the FORMOSAT-7 program, designed to gather weather data in low-latitude regions, will be launched in 2015, while six other high--latitude meteorological satellites will be launched in 2017, Yu said. A satellite designed and manufactured in Taiwan will also be launched in 2017, he said, adding that Taiwan would benefit from more accurate weather information once the FORMOSAT-7 satellites were in orbit.
Tamsui sees mercury drop
New Taipei City’s (新北市) Tamsui District (淡水) reported a low of 8.6oC early yesterday after a cold spell that hit the country on Friday brought temperatures down nationwide, the Central Weather Bureau said. Temperatures were estimated to fall to between 10oC and 12oC last night. Although the impact of the cold front was forecast to weaken today, the bureau said temperatures would not show obvious signs of improvement because cloud cover would remain thick in the north and there would be moist air in the east. The bureau said daytime temperatures could return to between 20oC and 22oC in central and southern Taiwan today.
Education initiative to begin
Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) and World Vision Taiwan announced an initiative that will begin on Sunday to raise money to help impoverished children and youth in Taiwan pay their school fees. Donation boxes will be set up at THSR stations and donation envelopes will be available on trains until March 5. This year, when the first fundraiser was held, more than NT$23 million (US$759,000) was donated to the charity, helping more than 7,200 children and young people attend school, World Vision Taiwan president Tu Ming-han (杜明翰) said. “The weather might be cold today, but the hearts of many are warm in this love-filled Christmas holiday,” he said.
Alishan stamps issued
State-run Chunghwa Post Co issued a commemorative sheet of postage stamps yesterday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Alishan Forest Railway. The stamps, in NT$5 and NT$25 denominations, feature the narrow-gauge mountain railway and the trains that run on it, and were designed by railway expert Su Chao-hsu (蘇昭旭) and railway enthusiast Tseng Kai-chih (曾凱智). The last time Chunghwa Post issued commemorative stamps for the Alishan railway was in 1992. Meanwhile, a documentary and book on the development of the railway were unveiled at a ceremony held at Pei-men Station in Chiayi City as part of the railway’s centenary celebrations. Chiayi Forest District Office said it took two years to complete the book and documentary and the process included conducting field studies, collecting historical photographs and raw data and interviewing elderly residents.