National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) yesterday unveiled two science payloads to be installed on a remote-sensing satellite of the Formosat-8 constellation, which is scheduled to be launched in 2023 by US firm SpaceX.
The payloads, a dual-band imager of atmospheric transient and electron temperature and density probe, have been part of an engineering model showcased in an exhibition marking the university’s 90th founding anniversary, highlighting its space technology development.
The instruments were developed by the university’s departments of physics, Earth sciences, aeronautics and astronautics, as well as Aerospace Industrial Development Corp and other local firms, a NCKU news release quoted Chen Bing-chih (陳炳志), a professor in its physics department, as saying.
Photo courtesy of National Cheng Kung University
The instruments would aid research on lightning and the ionosphere, Chen said.
The Formosat-8 project is a planned constellation of six high-resolution optical remote sensing satellites, each with a 1m resolution, the National Space Organization said on its Web site.
The first satellite, FS-8A, would carry NCKU’s payloads, and the second satellite, FS-8B, would carry a gamma-ray transients monitor developed by National Tsing Hua University, the agency said.
The launches would be in 2023 and 2024, it said.
Agency spokeswoman Vicky Chu (朱崇惠) separately told the Taipei Times that SpaceX would be responsible for launching the first two Formosat-8 satellites.
Taiwan’s space technology research has received global acclaim, demonstrating the nation’s ability to make inroads into the global space industry, said Vice President William Lai (賴清德), an alumnus of the Tainan-based university and a former Tainan mayor.
A renewed race to the moon involving many nations would ensue in the next decade, and Taiwan should not lag behind, Lai said, adding that he is glad to see his alma mater’s achievements in space technology.
In addition to the payloads, NCKU was the nation’s first university to launch a sounding rocket to an altitude of 4km, he said.
Lai also presented a posthumous presidential citation to former NCKU president Hsia Han-min (夏漢民), who also headed the National Science Council, to mark his contributions to the Tainan-based university and the space agency. The citation was received by Hsia’s widow, Wang Shou-mei (王壽美).
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