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Launch of Taiwanese Formosat-7 satellite will improve weather forecasting

Takeoff expected during second half of 2018

An overview of the Formosat program.

An overview of the Formosat program. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The launch of Taiwan’s Formosat-7 (福衛七號) satellite, expected during the second half of this year, will increase the accuracy of weather forecasts by 10 percent, reports said Wednesday.

At a conference in Taipei, the National Space Organization (NSPO) said the new satellite would collect twice as many data as its early predecessor, the Formosat-3, which was launched in 2006, the United Daily News reported.

Formosat-7 was designed to take over the functions of Formosat-3, and would circle the Earth at a height of 550 kilometers and round the planet once every 97 minutes, officials said.

The launch date for the new Taiwanese satellite had not been fixed yet because tests were continuing on the rocket which will have to carry it into space, according to NSPO officials.

Formosat-7 would fulfill a similar function to the NASA satellites Icon and Gold, which studied the mutual influence of weather on Earth and in the atmosphere, reports said.

Last year, SpaceX launched Formosat-5 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

A total of 150 scientists from 14 countries are participating in the fourth International Conference on GPS Radio Occultation, which opened Wednesday and lasts three days, according to the United Daily News.