Taipei-A drawing by junior high school student Chu Chia-yin will ride a rocket into space Friday when the Falcon 9 delivers Taiwan's FormoSat-5 satellite into orbit.
The drawing, which was selected two years ago in a competition for elementary school students in Taiwan, depicts a Formosan blue magpie wearing a space suit, against a background of rice fields, orchids and the iconic Taipei 101 skyscraper.
It will be carried on the Falcon 9 rocket, which is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, taking Taiwan's first domestically developed remote sensing satellite into space.
Chu, who was on her way to the U.S. with her family to witness the launch, told CNA before her departure that the flying magpie symbolized Taiwan's rising space-related dreams.
A sixth grader at time of the children's art competition, Chu took two weeks to figure out the composition of the drawing and an entire summer to complete it.
Under the terms of the competition, the winning entry would be carried aboard the Falcon 9 rocket when it took the FormoStat-5 into space.
"When my father got the notice (that I had won), he thought it was a scam," said Chu, who now attends Taipei Municipal Dunhua Junior High School.
She said she thought the launch would take place soon after the competition in October 2015 but she had to wait almost two years due to a series of delays, which included an explosion of the Falcon 9 rocket while it was being fueled for a test fire last September.
Now, it looks as if everything is ready, said Chu, whose family decided to take her to California for the launch and also to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and the Grand Canyon.
The opportunity to see the launch of the FormoSat-5 satellite is "an experience that money can't buy," she said.
It took six years and NT$5.659 billion to get the FormoSat-5 satellite ready for the launch, which will be broadcast live Aug. 25 at 2:30 a.m. Taiwan time on Public Television Service.
The satellite will collect data that will be used for natural disaster prevention, national security, technological advancements, and other academic and civilian purposes.
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council