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Taiwan schedules Triton weather satellite launch

TASA team has arrived in French Guiana for launch in October

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Taiwan's TASA team has arrived in French Guiana to prepare the launch of the Triton. (CNA, Arianespace/ESA/CNES photo)

Taiwan's TASA team has arrived in French Guiana to prepare the launch of the Triton. (CNA, Arianespace/ESA/CNES photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has set Oct. 5 as the launch date for the Triton, its first domestically made weather satellite and the result of 10 years of research.

The satellite, previously known as “Wind Hunter,” was developed by the Taiwan Space Agency (TASA) in Hsinchu City. Last July 14, it left Taiwan for French Guiana, where the launch will take place.

About 82% of the satellite and its related equipment was made in Taiwan, with more than 20 research institutes and enterprises participating in the project, per CNA. In the latest preparation phase, fuel leakage tests were completed, according to the report.

Once in the air, Triton will collect key data for weather observations and contribute to global climate analysis. A team from TASA arrived in French Guiana to prepare for the launch and its aftermath.

The program originated with the Formosat satellites, but in 2017, the United States said it would no longer cooperate with Taiwan on the project. Work on the Formosat-7R satellite had already begun, and parts had been acquired, leading to the decision to continue the project, with the satellite eventually being renamed Triton.

In 2019, the government unveiled a plan to invest NT$25.1 billion ($788.18 million) over a decade to develop national space technology, giving the satellite plan a renewed impetus. The COVID-19 pandemic posed a final obstacle, delaying the delivery of key parts until 2022, according to TASA.