A satellite that is reportedly the first to be fully designed in Taiwan is scheduled to launch into orbit this month from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The Formosat-5 satellite, built by Taiwan’s National Space Organization (NSPO), has plans to ride into space on Aug. 24 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from VAFB’s Space Launch Complex-4. The launch is scheduled for a window between 11:50 a.m. and 12:34 p.m.
“We are proud to provide a safe and secure launch location for our mission partners," said Col. Gregory E. Wood, 30th Space Wing vice commander and launch safety authority. “This mission is the practical demonstration of the professional spirit and teamwork found in the everyday operations of Team Vandenberg and SpaceX.”
The Formosat-5 satellite is expected to collect data for evaluation of natural disasters, as well as national security, environmental monitoring, rescue operations and scientific research, according to the Taipei Times.
The satellite cost about $168 million to construct, according to the news organization, and is scheduled to embark on a five-year mission.
The scheduled launch comes after about two years of delays.
As it has done with previous launches, SpaceX will attempt to land the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage on a platform in the Pacific Ocean so that it may be reused.
Anyone wishing to view the launch is encouraged by VAFB officials to gather at the Hawk’s Nest on Highway 1 south of the VAFB main gate between the base and Lompoc. The gate for the viewing area will open at 10:30 a.m. and close at 11:40 a.m., according to VAFB public affairs.
Members of the public are asked by base officials not to bring or consume alcohol, smoke, or have any open fires or barbeques. Weapons are also prohibited, as is the use of small unmanned aerial systems within five miles of any active runway.
The most recent launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from VAFB occurred June 25. That launch, which carried 10 Iridium satellites, was the first from the base — and just the second ever — to use an Autonomous Flight Safety System, which relies on computer systems rather than humans for rocket safety tracking.