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 was launched in June 2019 with 6 satellites successfully separated to injection orbit. 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 degrees. 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