President Tsai Ing-wen examines an image of Taiwan taken by the homegrown Formosat-5 satellite at the Office of the President Feb. 23 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of Office of the President)

Tsai vows to strengthen space technology sector

President Tsai Ing-wen said Feb. that the government is committed to building on the success of the homegrown Formosat-5 satellite program by boosting government funding and fostering talent cultivation in the space technology sector.

According to Tsai, the launch of the Formosat-5 ultra-high resolution Earth observation satellite last year was a proud and inspiring moment for the people of Taiwan and marked a major milestone in the development of the nation’s space tech industry. New government support initiatives are expected to further enhance the country’s competitiveness in related R&D and bolster international recognition of Taiwan’s expertise in the field, she added.

The president made the remarks while receiving members of the Formosat-5 team at the Office of the President in Taipei City. The National Space Organization (NSPO) satellite was launched Aug. 25, 2017, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California following a six-year development program involving more than 50 academic and industrial groups.

Tsai said that Formosat-5 is helping safeguard the future of Taiwan by offering timely, high-resolution imagery in such areas as climate and environmental change, disaster prevention and land-use planning. This information will prove invaluable in strengthening research and policymaking across these and related sectors, she added.

According to the NSPO, administered by the National Applied Research Laboratories under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Formosat-5 completes a full revolution of the Earth in 99 minutes at a 720-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit.

The satellite can take 2-meter resolution panchromatic and 4-meter resolution multispectral images, and features a domestically developed optical remote sensing payload, advanced Ionospheric probe as well as ground control and image processing systems. Since its launch, Formosat-5 has provided over 2,250 high-resolution optical images, including of the November 2017 Mount Agung volcano eruption in Bali, Indonesia, as well as the Thomas Fire in California’s Ventura County in December.

Established in 1991, the NSPO is dedicated to becoming a center of innovation for related technology and conducting domestic and international space programs.

Source: Taiwan Today