Space Programs | FORMOSAT-7

Program Description

The FORMOSAT-7/COSMIC-2 (simplified as FORMOSAT-7 in the following descriptions) is a major collaborative space program between Taiwan and the U.S. In this collaborative program, the designated representative for Taiwan is NSPO (National Space Organization) and the designated representative for the U.S. is NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The FORMOSAT-7 program is a follow-on program to the successful FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC program with upgraded performance for spacecraft bus and mission payload.

The FORMOSAT-7 constellation are planned to be launched and deployed 6 satellites into the designated low inclination orbits to provide meteorology data at low and mid latitudes. The mission architecture is as shown below:

FORMOSAT-7 Mission Architecture

Each satellite is equipped with a Radio Occultation (RO) receiver, called TGRS, which receives the GNSS signal from GPS and GLONASS satellites. The received radio occultation data is then transmitted down to the ground to retrieve and process into useful atmospheric and ionospheric weather data such as temperature, pressure, water vapor content, electron density, etc. The FORMOSAT-7 mission constellation will deploy 6 satellites to 6 different orbital planes at altitude of 550 km and orbit inclination angle of 24 degree. The 6 satellites will collect 4,000 RO profiles daily between +/-50-degree latitude. The volume of data generated will be 3~4 times that of FORMOSAT-3, and will greatly increase the amount of atmospheric and ionospheric observation data available at low latitudes, including Taiwan. The data distribution simulation for 24-hr coverage by FORMOSAT-7 constellation is shown below:

Data distribution simulation for 24-hr coverage by FORMOSAT-7 constellation

NSPO develops a 300kg calss satellite, labeled FORMOSAT-7R, to carry GNSS-Reflectometry payload, four key components including On-Board Computer (OBC), Power Control Unit (PCU), GPS Receiver (GPSR), and Fiber Optic Gyro (FOG), as well as Reaction Control System Demonstration Module (RCS-DM). FORMOSAT-7R serves as a platform to qualify components and to explore the advanced scientific application. The data, collected by GNSS-R can be used to calculate the wind speed over sea surface, will impact the typhoon prediction positively.

FORMOSAT-7R stowed and deployed configurations