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Archived ProgramsFORMOSAT-1

Low-earth-orbit scientific experimental satellite

FORMOSAT-1 is a low-earth-orbit scientific experimental satellite, which was launched by Lockheed Martin's Athena-1 (ATHENA-1 / LMLV1) rocket on January 27, 1999 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. After launched into an altitude of 600 km with the inclination angle of 35 degrees, it orbits around the Earth every 97 minutes, transmitting collected data to Taiwan's ground stations approximately six times a day.


Major mission

The major mission of FORMOSAT-1 includes three scientific experiments for measuring the effects of ionospheric plasma and electrodynamics, taking the ocean color image, and conducting Ka-band communication experiment.

(1) Ionosphere Plasma and Electrodynamics Instrument (IPEI)

During the mission of IPEI, it was at the violent period of the solar activity cycle. IPEI detected the ionospheric density hole caused by the largest geomagnetic storm in ten years; the scientific team completed the world's first statistical data of 3-D spatial ion distribution in the middle and low latitudes with IPEI observation data.

福爾摩沙衛星一號在巴西上空地磁較弱地帶量測到之大型離子洞。福爾摩沙衛星一號沿軌道六次經過該區  取得之IPEI資料,經組合後展示該離子洞之3-D結構。

FORMOSAT-1 satellite has measured large ion density holes during July 15-16, 2000, when the biggest magnetic storm event in the last decade, known as the Bastille Day event, occurred. The IPEI data from six FORMOSAT-1 orbits were composed to display the 3-D structures of the ionospheric density holes in the region of weaker Earth magnetic fields above Brazil known as South Atlantic Anomaly.


(2) Ocean Color Imager (OCI)

OCI has produced more than 5,000 global images, including more than 500 images near Taiwan. The visible and near-infrared light radiometric measurement from the images is analyzed to obtain the color distribution on the ocean surface and the aerosol concentration in the atmosphere. The image of the distribution of chlorophyll concentration on the ocean surface provides fishery applications and is helpful to the application research of fishery resource conservation; these obtained images are also used for sand and dust storm monitoring. 

The official first record of OCI image for the region surrounding Taiwan was taken on February 22, 1999.


(3) Experimental Communication Payload (ECP)

The FORMOSAT-1 ECP ground system has two ground stations: a remote ground terminal at National Cheng Kung University at Tainan and a mobil ground terminal.

The remote ground terminal can transmit and receive Ka-band signals to carry out ECP experiments, whereas the mobil ground terminal could only receive Ka-band signals from FORMOSAT-1. Three Ka-band communication experiments using the FORMOSAT-1 ECP have been conducted. The rain attenuation database of the Ka-band propagation channel has been established, and the acquisition of Ka-band communication experiment data has been completed.

Three Ka-band communication experiments using the FORMOSAT-1 Experimental Communication Payload (ECP) have been conducted. 



Local Manufacturers

TASA adopted a strategic policy to construct key satellite components by local manufacturers in order to build up space industry in Taiwan.

  • "Acer Sertek" Incorporated built the on-board computer to handle the satellite operation;

  • "Trans System Inc." manufactured the unit, which decoded and distributed commands to Experimental Communication Payload;

  • "Victory Industries" built the antenna to transmit or receive S-band RF signals at 2 GHz; also built the diplexer to isolate and filter RF signals;

  • "Shih-Lin Electric Corp." assembled silicon solar cells into the solar panel.

FORMOSAT-1 was decommissioned on June 17, 2004.