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The ROCSAT-1's Honorable Retirement

新聞出處:NSPO 2004/06/18

Taiwan's first independently owned satellite, FORMOSAT-1 , has been fulfilling its mission for more than five and half years. On June 16, 2004, functional anomalies were observed by the mission operation team. After taking immediate emergency recovery procedures overnight, the operation team lost its communication with FORMOSAT-1 due to the depletion of power. This has signified the completion of the mission and the official retirement of ROCSAT-1.

Around 4:00 pm on June 16, 2004, during a routine daily check up, the mission operation team has found functional anomalies on FORMOSAT-1 and the satellite has automatically switched to the safe mode. At the same time, the sun sensors have lost its function due to aging. As a result, the FOMOSAT-1 is unable to align its solar panels with the sun and has depleted its power because the satellite's batteries cannot be properly recharged. After several unsuccessfully attempt to reestablish communication link with the satellite, the mission operation team has no choice but to give up such attempts.

After being decommissioned, FORMOSAT-1 will continue to operate on its mission orbit at 600 kilometers. Since orbit at this altitude has higher stability, FORMOSAT-1 will not crash into the earth's surface within a short period time. In the future, if FORMOSAT-1 lowers its orbit altitude due to gravitational pull, it will enter the atmosphere at a very high speed and burn into ashes. Therefore, it will not cause any harm or damage to any person or object on the earth.

FORMOSAT-1 is a scientific satellite launched on January 27, 1999 to conduct the planned scientific experiments. The mission life of FORMOSAT-1 is 2 years with 4 years design life. However, FORMOSAT-1 has been operating for than five and half years, completing-three scientific experiments during this time period. The achievement of FORMOSAT-1 has greatly exceeded its original expectation. Reviewing the history of the FORMOSAT-1 development will give glimpse of the development of Taiwan's space technology. The success of FORMOSAT-1 project has boosted Taiwan's space technology and established the space development team. In addition, FORMOSAT-1 also laid the foundation for the future success of FORMOSAT-2 and FORMOSAT-3 launch. The retirement of FORMOSAT-1 will leave a historical mark on the history of Taiwan's space program.