The Taiwan Space Union was yesterday inaugurated at National Central University (NCU), with the aim to facilitate the development of space research in the nation.
The union currently comprises NCU, National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) and Academia Sinica, while it would recruit more members subsequently, the Ministry of Science and Technology said.
The union’s name plate was unveiled by Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Lin Minn-tsong (林敏聰), along with NCU President Jou Jing-yang (周景揚), NCKU President Jenny Su (蘇慧貞) and other scientists at NCU campus in Taoyuan, where they met for a two-day workshop that ends today.
The union’s founding chairman is Ip Wing-huen (葉永烜), a member of Academia Sinica and a professor at NCU who participated in the early planning stages of the Cassini-Huygens space mission, jointly conducted by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency to research the Saturn system.
Ip also initiated the establishment of the union, as he at a workshop in January suggested to form a think tank to support the nation’s space research efforts and later obtained support from the ministry, said union executive secretary Charles Lin (林建宏), a professor at NCKU.
“In the US, there is an organization called the Universities Space Research Association, which helps NASA develop its missions,” he said.
In a similar vein, Lin Minn-tsong has instructed the union to draft a white paper on the nation’s satellite science development goals for the next decade, he added.
The union would work in partnership with the National Space Organization (NSPO), which is in support of the new think tank, he said.
The NSPO is mainly composed of engineers, while the post of its chief scientist has been vacant since Liu Jann-yen (劉正彥), a professor at NCU, resigned in 2015.
Asked if the union is to fill the void, the ministry said that the union serves as a communication platform for strengthening partnership among institutions without influencing their operations.
The union aims to gather opinions, and help form and guide policymaking, it added.
The new think tank comprises four divisions tasked with data analysis and software development, engineering and experimental instrument development, promoting international cooperation, and forward-looking planning, the ministry said.
The Taiwan Space Industry Development Association, established in February last year, would be a mutually complementary partner of the union and facilitate the commercialization of academic research, it said.
In related news, a space development draft act was last month announced by the ministry, aimed at making the NSPO independent from the National Applied Research Laboratories.
While the bill’s notification period ended on Nov. 5, the ministry has yet to obtain the Cabinet’s approval for it.
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