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Taiwan launches first domestically made weather satellite

Triton lifts off to space after aborted attempt earlier this month

Taiwan-made weather satellite, Triton, sits on launchpad. (YouTube, TASA screenshot)

Taiwan-made weather satellite, Triton, sits on launchpad. (YouTube, TASA screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s first domestically made weather satellite, Triton (獵風者), achieved lift-off at 9:36 Monday (Oct. 9) from a launch site in French Guiana.

The launch came after a previous attempt was scuttled 14 seconds before ignition on Saturday (Oct. 7) due to concerns over monitoring data. For the next 48 hours, a thorough review of equipment took place according to National Space Organization Director-General Wu Jong-shinn (吳宗信).

Triton has entered its planned orbit and is expected to make its communication with the Taiwan command station some 12 hours later, per the Liberty Times. The launch was managed by French-owned Arianespace, which provided both launch facilities and a Vega-C rocket.

Wu said Triton is equipped with a domestically developed Global Navigation Satellite System Reflection Signal Receiver (GNSS-R) that will analyze the ocean surface for wave height, sea surface wind speed, and currents. Wu said such information is important for climate research and weather forecasting.

The main observation range for the weather satellite will be the central Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Atlantic Ocean. Such meteorological observations will influence prediction models for typhoons and other severe weather.

The Taiwan Space Agency said that about 82% of the Triton satellite was developed and manufactured domestically. If ground-based monitoring equipment is included, more than 20 Taiwan R&D units and manufacturers participated in the project, demonstrating a major step forward for Taiwan’s space research.