Taiwan is the latest country to enter the mission to launch satellites that will orbit the moon. The Ministry of Space and Technology of Taiwan reportedly announced that it has successfully entered the 3rd Phase and hopes to launch 10 new satellites, with the frequency being set at an 18 months interval with one of these satellites potentially orbiting the moon.
The budget for this project is around NT$25.1 billion and is slated to be headed by the National Applied Research Laboratory of Taiwan along with National Space Organization or NSPO. Minister of Space and Technology, Mr. Chen Liang-gee made the announcements.
Out of the 10 satellites to be launched, 6 of these new generation ones are the optical remote sensing satellites with high-resolution capacity which, according to Lin Chun-Liang, would revisit a single image two or three times a day in contrast to once in every two or three days previously. Out of the remaining four satellites, 2 of them will be similar to the previous ones with ultra-high resolution and 2 radar satellites with synthetic aperture that allegedly has the ability to click images through dense crowd cover as well, according to the report of Asia Times. Though most of the satellites launched by Taiwan are mainly aimed at taking photographic images, they hope to launch a satellite soon that will be capable of making lunar missions.
The previous satellites have benefitted a number of agencies for rescue missions, surveillance, prevention of disaster and other related scientific missions. However, Taiwan doesn’t have a rocket program that enables it to directly launch satellites and thus have to take help of space agencies that provide such services. SpaceX is a popular choice for this particular service and there has been collaboration in the past as well but the recent history of trying to convince SpaceX to launch the Formosat-7 satellite makes the launch of 10 satellites at 18 months interval look too ambitious. It looks like Taiwan in taking the right steps towards the right direction for lunar missions. What remains to be seen is how fast they can be successful in it.