TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Formosat-7, the second satellite constellation jointly built by Taiwan and the U.S., blasted off into space at 2:30 p.m. today (June 25), Taiwan Time.
Although the satellite was originally scheduled to be launched into space by a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:30 a.m. this morning, the space center said that the launch had been delayed until 2:30 p.m. due to a problem with the ground system, reported Liberty Times. Fortunately, the rocket lifted off at 2:30 p.m. today without any further hitches and is now entering Earth's orbit.
The rocket which is transporting the Formosat-7 into space today is the Falcon Heavy, which is comprised of a Falcon 9 rocket in the center combined with two first-stage modular rockets. The rocket, which is capable of carrying 63,800 kg worth of payload, will be placing 24 satellites into a low-Earth orbit today.
The effort to build the Formosat-7 constellation, which will replace Formosat-3, was the largest ever joint project between Taiwan and the U.S. Designed to replace the operations of Formosat-3, Formosat-7 will circle the Earth at a height of 550 kilometers and round the planet once every 97 minutes.
The launch pad which the rocket blasted off from today, Space LaunchComplex（SLC）39A, is very famous. Over the years, it was the launch site of many famous missions, including the Apollo program, the Space Shuttle, and SpaceX.
Once the Formosat-7 is fully deployed into its orbit, it will collect a number of different measures of data including atmospheric temperature, humidity, and pressure. Experts believe it will increase the accuracy of Taiwan’s weather forecasts by at least 10 percent, and the amount of data collected for regional weather forecasts and ionic observations by three to four times.
Video of the launch posted on the SpaceX YouTube channel: