The FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC program is an international collaboration between Taiwan and the United States that will use a constellation of six remote sensing microsatellites to collect atmospheric data for weather prediction and for ionosphere, climate and gravity research. Data from the satellites will be made available to the international scientific community in near real-time. FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC was launched aboard Orbital's Minotaur space launch vehicle on April 14, 2006.
Orbital was responsible for constellation design and analysis, development of the spacecraft bus, payload instrument development and oversight of components made by Taiwan local vendors. Orbital also provided assistance with system integration, satellite integration and testing in Taiwan, early in-orbit checkout, and satellite positioning, and is currently assisting with mission operations.
In early 2001, the National Space Organization (NSPO) of Taiwan selected Orbital for the $56 million contract. The project built on the success of the OrbView-1 satellite, which was completed and launched by Orbital in 1995 and still operates today.
Orbit:800 km @ 72°; 6 planes of 1 satellite spaced 24° apart
Attitude: nadir pointing, fixed yaw (during data collection)
Launch Mass: 416 kg (917 lbs) ~70 kg (154 lbs) per satellite
Solar Arrays: 207 W EOL, single axis articulated
Sabilization: 3-axis, zero momentum, nadir and target pointing
Mission life: 2 Years (5 year Expendables)
FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC was successfully launched on April 14, 2006. The constellation of satellites is operational and collecting science data.
Customer: National Space Organization (NSPO) Taiwan
Mission: Constellation of six micro-satellites. Collect atmospheric sounding
data for scientific research & operational testing
Quick Facts FORMOSAT/COSMIC will be the third space mission in the history of Taiwan's national space program and the first to employ a constellation of microsatellites.
Originally developed for the ORBCOMM data communications network, Orbital's
MicroStar spacecraft has been readily adapted to missions for NASA, DARPA
and several commercial and international customers, such as NSPO.
Nearly 40 MicroStar-based satellites have been launched