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Taiwan seeks Japanese satellite services until the launch of FORMOSAT-5

Taiwan seeks satellite services from Japan until the launch of FORMOSAT-5 satellite next year
Taiwan seeks satellite services from Japan until the launch of FORMOSAT-5 satellite next year

Taiwan: Taiwan is seeking to use Japan’s satellite services until the launch of its FORMOSAT-5 satellite later this year, said the Science and Technology minister of Taiwan, Yang Hung-duen. In a meet, Yang said the launch of FORMOSAT-5 had been delayed because of a failed rocket test by the US Company, SpaceX in June last year.

FORMOSAT-5 will not be launched until October, though the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) had said the launch would take place last month. Until FORMOSAT-5 is put into service, Taiwan would rely on Japan for satellite services, Yang said.

FORMOSAT-5 was scheduled to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in the first quarter, to replace FORMOSAT-2, which has been conducting remote sensing imaging since May 2004. However, the test failed, which led to a delayed service to all its customers, including NARL.

NARL said the postponement would not have been a problem had another of the four reaction wheels on FORMOSAT-2 not failed on Tuesday last week. With two of its reaction wheels malfunctioning, FORMOSAT-2 has not been able to perform its imaging tasks and its movements cannot be accurately controlled, said NARL, which is in charge of Taiwan’s space program.

The reaction wheels are used primarily for attitude control and are particularly useful when a spacecraft must make very small adjustments that are required, for example, to keep a telescope pointed at a star. FORMOSAT-5, which is to carry a payload including an optical remote sensing instrument designed and developed in Taiwan, was designed to take over the remote sensing imaging mission of FORMOSAT-2.