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Joint Taiwan-US-India INSPIRESat-1 Weather Microsatellite Reaches Destination

Taiwan has been working with India and the United States together on space exploration with a microsatellite and the endeavour has been successful. As confirmed by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), INSPIRESat-1, a microsatellite jointly developed by Taiwan, the U.S. and India, has reached its mission orbit. This spotlights government efforts to advance the space technology industry and enhance meteorological monitoring, the MOST added.

According to the MOST, the constellation was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. It’s a joint effort. The satellite carries payloads funded by Taiwan’s National Central University and the U.S.-based National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The two scientific instruments onboard collect information on the Earth’s ionosphere and the sun’s corona, the MOST said. When combined with the satellite, they form a space weather station.

The project also marks the first time a Taiwan academic institution has collaborated with the Indian Space Research Organisation, which launched INSPIRESat-1 on its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, the MOST said. The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology is responsible for flight control of the satellite, with assistance from NCU and the University of Colorado Boulder in the U.S., the MOST added.

Space development is one of the government’s top priorities, the MOST said, adding that the administration is leaving no stone unturned in this regard, as demonstrated by the passing of the Space Development Act last year.

It must be noted that a weather satellite is a type of satellite built primarily to monitor the weather and climate of the planet. However, these meteorological satellites aren’t just about seeing clouds and cloud systems. A satellite is a self-contained communications system that has the ability to receive signals from the ground below. With the use of a transponder,  it can retransmit those signals back. A transponder is an integrated receiver and transmitter of radio signals.

A classic example of this is the two US geostationary satellites which provide imagery over a large area (e.g. North and South America, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans). Even better, during severe weather outbreaks, these geostationary satellites can be directed to take images every 5 to 15-minute intervals. Alternatively, they can be made to zero in on smaller impacted areas.

The potential that space offers is tremendous. Though still not as big, its space technology capability is growing rapidly. For instance, knowing how important space technology is, the country is setting up a national space centre. With the current rate, Taipei hopes to launch its own satellite from within the country by 2026.

Taiwan has been making the most of digital transformation to move its economy forward. Recently, its New Southbound Policy has seen ICT product sales as a major export source to neighbouring Asian countries. It is also putting effort into ensuring digital adoption goes as smoothly as possible. Taiwan hopes to achieve its digital transformation goals in a sustainable manner. Recently, it affirmed its goal to achieve the Net-zero by 2050 as reported on OpenGov Asia.

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