Taipei Times: NSPO trumpets satellite’s performance

The images taken by Taiwan’s first indigenously developed satellite, Formosat-5, has been used to calculate underwater topography and monitor rice production after it became commercially operational last year, and its performance is comparable to that of a US high-resolution satellite, the National Space Organization (NSPO) said yesterday.

The Agricultural Research Institute in August sparked controversy when it was found to have attempted to buy images sourced from a China-based firm for monitoring crop production.

Only China’s Zhuhai-1 remote sensing satellite constellation could satisfy the institute’s requirements for image resolution better than 10m with more than 30 wavebands, the institute said at the time.

Asked about the issue yesterday, Chu said that purchases of satellite images can be purely commercial transactions, avoiding confidential data.

Countries owning satellites also share information for disaster-relief purposes, he added.

While Formosat-5 has only four wavebands, they are sufficient for most agricultural survey missions, he said.

The NSPO is planning to launch 10 satellites from this year through 2028: six high-resolution satellites, two ultra-high-resolution satellites and two synthetic aperture radar satellites, NSPO Director-General Lin Chun-liang (林俊良) said.

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