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Orbital Taurus To Launch Taiwan's ROCSAT-2 Thursday

file photo of a Taurus launch
Dulles VA (SPX) May 20, 2004
Orbital Sciences reports that it is in final preparations to launch its Taurus space launch vehicle carrying the Republic of China's ROCSAT-2 remote sensing satellite on Thursday, May 20, 2004.

The mission will originate from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California. The available launch window extends from 10:47 a.m. to 11:11 a.m. (Pacific time), with a targeted launch time at the opening of the launch window. This schedule is subject to the completion of final preparations and testing, as well as acceptable weather conditions at VAFB at the time of the mission.

Onboard Orbital's four-stage ground-launched Taurus rocket will be the ROCSAT-2 spacecraft, built for Taiwan's National Space Program Office (NSPO) by EADS/Astrium. ROCSAT-2 is a 750 kg panchromatic and multispectral remote sensing satellite that will observe and monitor the terrestrial and marine environment of Taiwan and surrounding waters. The satellite also carries an instrument to observe lightning in the Earth's upper atmosphere.

On launch day, the Taurus rocket will be prepared for its mission during a four-hour countdown procedure. Following a final launch decision, the vehicle will ignite its first stage rocket motor, lift off and follow a pre-programmed launch sequence controlled by its onboard flight computer.

Approximately 14 and a half minutes after liftoff, Taurus will deliver NSPO's ROCSAT-2 spacecraft into a circular parking orbit approximately 725 kilometers above the Earth, inclined at 99.1 degrees to the equator.

Orbital developed the ground-launched Taurus vehicle to provide a cost-effective, reliable means of launching satellites weighing up to approximately 1,375 kg (3,000 pounds) into low-Earth orbit. Taurus incorporates advanced structural and avionics technology proven on Pegasus and other operational launch systems. It is also designed for easy transportability and austere site operations, offering customers rapid-response launches from a wide range of locations.

The ROCSAT-2 mission will be the seventh flight of the Taurus rocket, with five of the six previous missions having been fully successful. This mission will also be the first launch of the Taurus XL configuration, which offers greater lift capability compared to previous versions of the Taurus rocket.

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US Wants Taiwan To Bolster Intelligence Gathering: Jane's
Taipei (AFP) Jan 08, 2004
The United States is pressing Taiwan to procure two intelligence-gathering devices to correct an intelligence "blind spot" over the activities of China's army, the authoritative Jane's Defense Weekly (JDW) says. The facilities include a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite and a signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft, it says in an article to be published on January 14. "Taiwan has a major intelligence blind spot regarding what the ground forces of the People's Liberation Army does," a US defense department source told the magazine.

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