Space Programs | FORMOSAT-5

Program Description

FORMOSAT-5 Development and Launch


FORMOSAT-5 is the first space program that National Space Organization (NSPO) takes full responsibility for the complete satellite system engineering design including payload(s). Mission of the program is shown as follows:

  1. To build up Taiwan’s self-reliant space technology on the remote sensing payload and spacecraft bus,
  2. To develop the key components of the EO-type remote sensing instrument and spacecraft bus by integrating the domestic resources,
  3. To continue to serve the global imagery users’ community of FORMOSAT-2, and
  4. To promote the space science experiment & research.

FORMOSAT-5 operates in a sun synchronous orbit at 720-km altitude with 98.28-degree inclination angle. Similar to FORMOSAT-2, an optical Remote Sensing Instrument (RSI), which provides 2-m resolution panchromatic (PAN, black & white) and 4-m resolution multi-spectral (MS, color) images, is the primary payload on FORMOSAT-5. The primary payload consists of one PAN band with 12,000 pixels and four MS bands with 6000 pixels each. In addition, a secondary payload, a scientific instrument (i.e., Advanced Ionospheric Probe (AIP)), was developed by The National Central University (NCU). FORMOSAT-5 was launched by SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on August 25, 2017 and both payloads are operating normally.

FORMOSAT-5 program consists of Space, Ground, and Launch segments. In addition to the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, the Space segment is made up by Spacecraft Bus, Remote Sensing Instrument (RSI), and Scientific Instrument; Ground segment includes TT&C ground station, X-band antenna system, remote TT&C station, satellite operation and control center, and image processing center. FOSMOSAT-5 program system configuration is shown below:

To meet the major mission goals, National Applied Research Laboratory (NARL) authorized NSPO to integrate domestic resources to develop key space-qualified components for both payload and bus. The basic characteristics of FORMOSAT-5 are similar to FORMOSAT-2 which is still healthily operational beyond its designed mission life of five years. Due to the strict export license limitation on key technologies and the accumulated experience & knowledge from FORMOSAT-1, 2, & 3, NSPO is taking a bold step to be responsible for the complete system development of FORMOSAT-5 while FORMOSAT-2 was developed by a well-experienced foreign contractor. NSPO is confident in its in-house capability to accomplish the FORMOSAT-5 program timely.

▲ FORMOSAT-5 Acquisition Strategy

NSPO has teamed up with several domestic partners for developing the key components of the space program.  Key components for FORMOSAT-5 spacecraft bus include Power Control and Distribution Unit (PCDU), Command and Data Management Unit (CDMU), and Flight Software (FSW).  RSI payload including key components: Focal Plane Assembly (FPA) and Electronic unit (EU) is 100% developed in Taiwan.  Involved domestic partners include COMOS Sensor Inc. (CSI), Camels, The SYSCOM Group, Advanced Control & Systems Inc., Victory Microwave Corporation, Instrument Technology Research Center (ITRC), National Chip Implementation Center (CIC), Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC), and ChungShan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST). Foreign partners include SpaceTech GmbH Immenstaad (STI) and Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX). Major Domestic Partners are as shown below.