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Taiwan loses contact with indigenous satellites

Taiwan-made CubeSats fall silent after being sent into space Sunday

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Taiwan-made IDEASSat CubeSat. (NSPO photo)

Taiwan-made IDEASSat CubeSat. (NSPO photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Mission operators at Taiwan's National Space Organization (NSPO) have lost contact with two domestically made mini-satellites (CubeSats) after they were launched into space on Sunday (Jan. 24).

The two Taiwan-made CubeSats, YUSAT ("Yushan," 玉山) and IDEASSat ("Flying Squirrel," 飛鼠), were carried into space at 10 a.m. Sunday by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. They were sent to perform space tasks such as ionospheric observations and ground traffic monitoring.

Despite the successful launch, Taiwan has not received any signals from the two satellites, according to NSPO. The space agency said the satellites had passed over Taiwan, at 10:05 a.m. and 8:39 p.m. on Monday (Jan. 25).

NSPO Director-General Lin Chun-liang (林俊良) said the communication failure might be because of poor satellite reception caused by the low elevation angle between the satellites and the ground. He added that CubeSats are difficult to track due to their small size and it is possible for satellites not to transmit signals back to Earth for up to three days after being launched.

Meanwhile, National Central University space science professor Liu Jann-yenq (劉正彥) said a few international space agencies have detected signals from YUSAT and IDEASSat, which suggests the two satellites are "alive and well." He said researchers will continue to try and restore contact with the satellites, reported New Talk.

Taiwan loses contact with indigenous satellites
NSPO researchers examine YUSAT CubeSat prior to its launch. (NSPO photo)

Taiwan loses contact with indigenous satellites
YUSAT CubeSat (top), IDEASSat CubeSat. (NSPO image)


Updated : 2021-10-21 12:47 GMT+08:00