Introduction to the Special Issue on “Earth Observation FORMOSAT-5”


The National SPace Organization (NSPO) was founded in 1991 to pursue self-reliant space technology to nurture the domestic space industry and promote space science research in Taiwan. As an extension of the widely-accepted FORMOSAT-2 remote sensing satellite, NSPO is self-reliantly developing FORMOSAT-5 to continue its international earth observation image and space science research services. FORMOSAT-5 will offer state-of-the-art ionospheric space science data for geoscience research. It will also provide two-meter panchromatic and four-meter multi-spectrum images at various processing levels. Using the heritage and lessons-learned from the FORMOSAT-1/Ionospheric Plasma and Electrodynamics Instrument (IPEI), FORMOSAT-5/Advanced Ionospheric Probe (AIP) becomes an all-in-one plasma sensor with a sampling rate up to 8,192 Hz to measure ionospheric plasma concentrations, velocities, temperatures, and ambient magnetic fields over a wide range of spatial scales. FORMOSAT-5’s global coverage capability, smart agility feature and pioneer use of a Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) sensor for commercial optical earth observation satellites (Chang et al., 2012a) will bring even broader research applications to the geoscience community. The 500-kg FORMOSAT-5 satellite, as shown in Figure 1, will soon be launched into a two-day revisit Sun-synchronous orbit at 720 km altitude and 98.28˚ inclination.

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