TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two of Taiwan's domestically made mini-satellites will be launched into space from Florida on Jan. 21, according to Science and Technology Minister Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠).
During a press conference on Wednesday (Jan. 13), Wu pointed out that the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has been exploring innovations for the last eight months. He said researchers from Taiwan's National Space Organization (NSPO) were able to develop three mini-satellites, also known as CubeSats (立方衛星), to carry out space tasks such as ionospheric observations.
Wu said two of the CubeSats, YUSAT ("Yushan," 玉山) and IDEASSat ("Flying Squirrel," 飛鼠), will be transported into space by a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Jan. 21. He said this will be the first time Taiwan launched its CubeSats.
According to NSPO, the YUSAT CubeSat can monitor ground traffic as well as improve maritime navigation safety. The IDEASSat CubeSat is capable of monitoring the thermal, chemical, and electro-dynamic structure of the ionosphere while detecting plasma irregularities that can disrupt satellite and terrestrial radio communications.
Meanwhile, Wu said the majority of satellites developed by Taiwan in the past were remote sensing and meteorological satellites. He expected the country to send its first communications satellite into space by 2025, as part of a NT$4 billion (US$142.7 million) low-earth-orbit communications satellite program initiated by MOST this year, reported CNA.
YUSAT CubeSat (top), IDEASSat CubeSat. (NSPO image)