Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) yesterday unveiled a plan to launch up to 20 satellites in the next 10 years, doubling the government’s original target set in 2019.
Taiwan is to focus on space science and technology following the legislature passing the Space Development Act (太空發展法) last year, Wu told a news conference ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday at the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taipei.
The ministry is seeking to facilitate the growth of the indigenous space industry by linking businesses with space research, which the country has been conducting for the past 30 years, he said.
Taiwan has since 2019 made strides in developing a domestic low-Earth orbit satellites industry, he said.
The nation is seeking to launch a Triton satellite this year, as it was scheduled in the National Space Science and Technology Development Long-term Program, he said, adding that the program includes 10 launches from 2019 to 2028.
The ministry is planning to prop up the sector by setting more ambitious goals and extending the program to 2030, Wu said.
The expansion is to focus on remote sensing and low-Earth orbit satellites, he said, denying speculation that officials are weighing whether to include cubesats.
For this fiscal year, the ministry added NT$1.1 billion (US$39.65 million) to the program’s regular funding of NT$2.96 billion, he said, adding that the ministry would ask for more additional funding next year.
A larger budget would enable the space industry to increase staff and resources, and expand from technology research to operating satellites for commercial and domestic use, he said.
A new headquarters for the National Space Organization would be set up in Hsinchu City, and the agency would be turned into a public foundation run by the Executive Yuan, he said, adding that this would enable it to coordinate the nation’s space policy while carrying out more traditional, research-oriented tasks.
Academic institutions also play a role in space industry development, as National Cheng Kung University and National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University have applied to use the agency’s rocket launch pad in Pingtung County’s Mudan Township (牡丹), which started operating on Jan. 13, he said.
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