Tainan, Taiwan - The Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) satellite mission co-led by research centers in Japan and Taiwan was launched at 7 p.m. on December 20 at the Uchinoura Space Center (USC), Japan.
The ERG mission is about to help unravel the complicated physics of the Van Allen radiation belts and help monitor the space weather to protect our environment and modern technologies, according to Dr. Tzu-Fang Chang from the Institute of Space and Plasma Sciences in NCKU.
For the first time, Taiwan is competent to take charge of an advanced space instrument for participation in a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)-led magnetospheric mission－ERG mission, she added.
A total of 30 research teams involved in the ERG program and Taiwan is the only foreign team to be invited to participate.
Dr. Chang also noted, through years of efforts, Taiwan has successfully delivered the Low-Energy Particle Sensor for Electron (LEP-e) for deployment on the ERG satellite.
She explained, the LEP-e instrument is an analyzer which enables the ERG satellite to observe the energy distribution and density of low energy electrons surrounding the Earth.
The primary task of the Taiwanese ERG team is to design and develop the LEP-e instrument hardware and perform data pipeline processing, according to Chang.
Through the ERG mission, it is the first time that a Taiwan-made particle instrument is to cruise in the magnetosphere exploring the regions of intense ionizing radiation and monitoring the essential regions that affect our space weather.
It allows Taiwanese scientists to access ERG data and increases world-class space research opportunities, and strengthens Taiwan’s capability in building top-notch instruments for future space science missions.
The project consists of the satellite observation team, the ground-based network observation team, and the integrated data analysis/simulation team.
The ERG Science Center is operated by Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research (ISEE), Nagoya University as a Joint Research Center for Space Science.
The science center archives data related to the ERG project, releases the data to the public, develops integrated analysis tools for the data, and promotes studies related to the ERG project.
We deeply appreciate ISAS/JAXA providing the opportunity of Japan-Taiwan collaboration on the ERG project, Dr. Chang said.