The Ministry of Science and Technology yesterday announced plans to focus on the development of 10 small, high-resolution satellites for the third phase of the National Space Program.
The third phase, which is expected to cost NT$25.1 billion (US$814 million), was last month approved by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).
It was the first official document he signed after taking office.
Photo: Chien Hui-ju, Taipei Times
It is to be executed by the National Applied Research Laboratories and the National Space Organization (NSPO) over a 10-year period starting this year, the ministry said.
The initiative would focus on the development of six prototype high-resolution optical remote sensing satellites, two ultra-high resolution smart optics remote sensing satellites and two synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites, it said.
It would also focus on the development of remote sensing technology and the use of smaller satellites to achieve higher resolution images, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said.
Citing an example, Chen said an ultra-high resolution smart optics remote sensing satellite weighing about 200kg would give users a 35cm view of the ground from an altitude of 510km, which would be the equivalent of spotting a cat or a dog in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) area from the Taipei 101 building.
The ministry plans to launch one satellite a year, he said, adding that the first is expected to be launched in 18 months.
The achievements of the first and second phases would serve as the foundation for the third phase, Chen said.
He hopes that the National Space Program would encourage innovation in the field of science, he added.
The prototype high-resolution optical remote sensing satellite constellation, which is to include three sets of two satellites, would raise the frequency of Formosat-5’s revisit rate from once every two days to twice or three times a day, NSPO director-general Lin Chun-liang (林俊良) said.
This would allow the ministry to gather more images, which has positive implications for the implementation of government policies, rescue missions, disaster prevention and scientific research, he said.
Ultra-high resolution smart optics remote sensing satellites focus on sub-meter resolution images, Lin said.
SAR satellites, which are equipped with active radar, are unaffected by cloud cover, fog or rainfall, which means they can function no matter the weather conditions or time of day, he said.
Other plans for the third phase include space exploration and the development of a satellite capable of orbiting the moon, Lin added.
As Taiwan lacks experience in these areas, it hopes to achieve its goal of space exploration by partnering with domestic and foreign academia, he said.
Having a satellite orbiting the moon would be the first step, he said.
Researchers would also explore ways to land a satellite on the moon, Lin added.
Without the assistance of GPS on the moon, the satellite would need to guide its own landing, he said.
Asked about the launch date of Formosat-7, Lin said that as Taiwan is partnering with the US for the launch, it would need to wait for the US to notify them.
Formosat-7’s six satellites are on standby at the NSPO, and can be packaged and delivered to the US as soon as it receives notice from the US, he said.
The ministry plans to launch Formosat-7 this year and a weather satellite called the “wind hunter” next year, Chen said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
LUCKY DATE: The man picked the 10th ‘Super Red Envelope’ in a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10 A man who recently broke up with his girlfriend won a NT$1 million (US$32,929) prize in the “NT$20 million Super Red Envelope” lottery after picking a card based on the date of their breakup, Taiwan Lottery Co said yesterday. The man, in his 20s, bought the 10th ticket at a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢), because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10, the store owner told the lottery company. The “Super Red Envelope” lottery was a limited offering by the company during the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended yesterday. The cards, which cost NT$2,000 each, came with
TOURISM BOOST: The transportation system could help attract more visitors to the area, as the line is to connect multiple cultural sites, a city councilor said Residents in New Taipei City’s Ankeng District (安坑) said the local light rail system might have a positive influence, but raised questions about its practicality. The Ankeng light rail system, which is to commence operations after the Lunar New Year holiday, would cut travel time for commuters from Ankeng to downtown Taipei or New Taipei City by 15 to 20 minutes, the city government said. According to the initial plan, there would be one train every 15 minutes during peak time and additional interval trains would run between the densely populated Ankang Station (安康) and Shisizhang Station (十 四張). To encourage people to
CHAMPION TREES: The team used light detection and ranging imaging to locate the tree, and found that it measured a height of 84.1m and had a girth of 8.5m A team committed to finding the tallest trees in the nation yesterday said that an 84.1m tall Taiwania cryptomerioides tree had been named the tallest tree in Taiwan and East Asia. The Taiwan Champion Trees, a team consisting of researchers from the Council of Agriculture’s Taiwan Forestry Research Institute and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), in June last year used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) imaging to find the giant tree, numbered 55214, upstream of the Daan River (大安溪). A 20-member expedition team led by Rebecca Hsu (徐嘉君), an assistant researcher at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, set out to find the