Formosat-5, the first satellite developed by Taiwan, is scheduled to be launched on Aug. 25 in California. Chang Guey-shin, director-general of the National Space Organization, said the satellite has been developed in conjunction with local academic and industrial sectors. It took six years, more than 50 teams and cost NT$5.659 billion (US$186.37 million) to develop the optical remote sensing satellite, which will continue the remote sensing mission of Formosat-2. Chang said images taken by Formosat-5 will be used to guide disaster inspection and prevention, identify landslide prone areas, conduct environmental monitoring, academic research and international humanitarian relief work.
The 450-kg Formosat-5 will carry an atmospheric/ionospheric profiling scientific payload, which can be used to develop a weather model in space, monitor changes in plasma turbulence and study for potential changes in the ionosphere before earthquakes. The launch of Formosat-5 was originally set for last year, but had to be pushed back several times after SpaceX, a U.S, company commissioned to conduct the launch, saw its Falcon 9 rocket and payload, the Amos-6 communications satellite, destroyed in an explosion last September, impacting the launch schedule of other satellites.