Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and the National Space Organization (NSPO) have signed contract for the launch of NSPO’s Earth Observation Satellite, Formosat-5. Formosat-5 will be used to continue the image data service for civilian users and may also carry instruments to conduct space research and scientific experiments.
The National Space Organization (NSPO), the civilian space agency of the Republic of China (Taiwan), is involved in the development of space exploration, satellite construction and development as well as related research, technologies and infrastructure, including the FORMOSAT series of Earth observation satellites. With Formosat-5, NSPO aims to build up capabilities for independent development of spacecraft and payload instruments.
“The launch of Formosat-5 will build on the successful launch and operation of the FORMOSAT satellites,” said Dr. H.P. Chang, Formosat-5 Program Manager of NSPO. “SpaceX’s approach to launch services is very well-aligned with our goals and objectives for the program—we are very pleased to partner with them on this launch.”
“With over 40 flights now on manifest, SpaceX is positioned to deliver launch services across the increasingly varied needs of our commercial and government customers,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX. “We are pleased to be the launch services provider of choice for the FORMOSAT-5 mission and look forward to supporting NSPO on this launch.”
Formosat-5 is slated to launch as early as December 2013 from SpaceX’s launch site on Omelek Island at the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) in the Central Pacific, about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii.
SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles and spacecraft intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of both manned and unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 vehicles, SpaceX offers highly reliable/cost-efficient launch capabilities for spacecraft insertion into any orbital altitude and inclination. Starting in 2010, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will provide Earth-to-LEO transport of pressurized and unpressurized cargo, including resupply to the International Space Station.
Founded in 2002, SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The SpaceX team now numbers over 1000, with corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, California. For more information, and to watch the archived video of the Falcon 9, Flight 1 launch, visit the SpaceX website at www.SpaceX.com.