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Customs snafu threatens launch of Taiwan satellite

Ministries rush to put papers in order for shipment to US

FORMOSAT-5 being prepared for its shipment to LAX.

FORMOSAT-5 being prepared for its shipment to LAX. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The planned August 25 launch of Taiwan’s first entirely domestically developed satellite might have to be postponed as it was stopped from leaving the country for the United States by customs at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, reports said Wednesday.

The precise nature of the problem with FORMOSAT-5 (福爾摩沙衛星五號) was not clear according to media reports, but customs officers reportedly found fault with the documentation for the trip.

The satellite was scheduled to be loaded on board a China Airlines cargo plane at 10 p.m. Wednesday, with the departure time fixed at 11:50 p.m. Arrival at Los Angeles International Airport was scheduled for July 19, 9:30 p.m. local time, followed by a transfer to Vandenberg Air Force Base.

A Falcon 9 rocked supplied by Elon Musk’s SpaceX is to take the Taiwanese satellite into space on August 24 local time, or August 25, 2:50 a.m. Taiwan time.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Science and Technology said Wednesday evening they were working hard to solve the issue which was holding up the departure of the satellite, also expressing the hope that it would not affect the launch schedule.

Updated : 2021-10-20 03:39 GMT+08:00