FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC Spacecraft Constellation System, Mission Results, and Prospect for Follow-On Mission
Terrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
AB STRACT The FORMOSAT-3/COS MIC space craft con stel la tion con sist ing of six LEO sat el lites is the world's first op er a tional GPS Ra dio Occultation (RO) mis sion. The mis sion is jointly de vel oped by Tai wan's Na tional Space Or ga ni za tion (NSPO) and the United States' UCAR in col lab o ra tion with NSF, USAF, NOAA, NASA, NASA's Jet Pro pul sion Lab o ra tory, and the US Na val Re search Lab o ra tory. The FORMOSAT-3/COS MIC sat el lites were suc cess fully launched from
... nched from Vandenberg US AFB in Cal i for nia at 0140 UTC 15 April 2006 into the same or bit plane of the des ig nated 516 km al ti tude. The mis sion goal is to de ploy the six sat el lites into six or bit planes at 800 km al ti tude with a 30-de gree sep a ra tion for evenly dis trib uted global cov er age. All six FORMOSAT-3/COS MIC sat el lites are cur rently main tain ing a sat is fac tory good state-of-health. Five out of six sat el lites have reached their fi nal mis sion or bit of 800 km as of No vem ber 2007. The data as re ceived by FORMOSAT-3/COS MIC sat el lites con stel la tion have been pro cessed in near real time into 2500 good ion o spheric pro files and 1800 good at mo spheric pro files per day. These have out num bered the world wide ra dio sondes (~900 mostly over land) launched from the ground per day. The pro cessed at mo spheric RO data have been as sim i lated into the Nu mer i cal Weather Pre dic tion (NWP) mod els for real-time weather pre dic tion and ty phoon/hur ri cane fore cast ing by many ma jor weather cen ters in the world. This pa per de scribes the FORMOSAT-3/COS MIC sat el lite con stel la tion sys tem per for mance and the mission results that span the period from April 2006 to October 2007; and reviews the prospect of a future follow-on mission. IN TRO DUC TION Ra dio Occultation (RO) tech niques have been used in outer space to probe plan e tary ion o spheres and at mo spheres for over four de cades. In the early 1960s, sci ence teams at JPL/NASA and Stan ford Uni ver sity de vel oped one-way and two-way ra dio occultation tech niques, re spec tively, to probe Mars. The com bined tech niques have since been used to probe the at mo sphere of al most ev ery planet and their moons in the so lar sys tem Kliore et al. 1965; Mel bourne et al. 1994; Yunck et al. 2000) . The GPS/MET ex per i ment (1995 -1997) car ried aboard the NASA-spon sored MICROLAB I sat el lite showed that the at mo spheric limb-sound ing tech nique us ing ra dio signals trans mit ted from GPS sat el lites of fers cer tain ad vantages over the tra di tional pas sive mi cro wave ra di om e try mea sure ment. The GPS/MET ex per i ment be came the first Terr.