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Archived ProgramsFORMOSAT-2

The first remote sensing satellite

The FORMOSAT-2 is Taiwan's first remote sensing satellite developed and owned by Taiwan Space Agency (TASA). It was launched from the Vandenberg launch site in California, USA, on May 21, 2004 by a Taurus rocket, and the satellite entered the Sun-synchronous orbit with the altitude of 891 kilometers.



The satellite orbits the earth for about 103 minutes, passing through Taiwan twice a day. The mission of FORMOSAT-2 is to conduct remote sensing imaging on Taiwan and global land and sea areas. The image data taken in the daytime area can be used in territorial planning, natural resource exploration, environmental protection, disaster prevention and relief, etc. When the satellite moves to the night area, scientific observations of the natural phenomena of lightning in the upper atmosphere are made, and the observation results are provided for scientific experimental research.

Remote sensing and scientific observation tasks

FORMOSAT-2 carries two payload instruments including Remote Sensing Instrument (RSI) and Imager of Sprites and Upper Atmospheric Lightning (ISUAL), in order to fulfill its remote sensing and scientific missions.

Remote sensing resolutions are 2 meters for black and white images and 8 meters for color images. FORMOSAT-5 RSI owns daily real-time imaging characteristics, which can be an important reference for disaster relief units in Taiwan, when major disasters occur. The unique design of satellite revisit frequency and timeliness is where FORMOSAT-2 is superior to other international commercial remote sensing satellites.



Strong earthquake in the afternoon of May 12, 2008 in Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, China, before and after the earthquake.


Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland on March 20, 2010

The scientific experiments conducted by FORMOSAT-2 is the world's first long-term satellite observation on the lightning phenomenon at the earth's upper atmosphere. FORMOSAT-2 is also capable of providing spectrophotometry and active atmosphere data which are not influenced by the atmospheric absorption.  

Indigenous Components

  • On-Board Management Unit (Acer Inc.)

  • On-Board Flight Software Module (Tatung System Technologies Corp.)

  • Sun Sensor (Shihlin Electric & Engineering Corp.)

  • S-Band Antennae (Victory Industrial Corp.)

  • Flight Harness (Aerospace Industrial Development Corp.)

  • Vertical Installation Dolly (Taiwan Aerospace Corp.)

  • The primary satellite structure (designed, analyzed and tested by TASA and manufactured by Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. and Taiwan Aerospace Corp.)

On August 19, 2016, TASA officially announced that FORMOSAT-2 was retired and gloriously decommissioned.