The primary focus of Taiwan's National Space Technology Long-term Development Program is satellite development. Having laid the foundation for indigenous space technology in the first (1991 to 2006) and second (2004 to 2018) phases of the program, the nation is now launching the third phase, which will run from 2019 to 2028. An estimated NT$25.1 billion (US$836.8 million) will be invested throughout the decade to push domestic space technology to new heights and meet the challenges of cutting-edge space missions. The program also aims to extend and spread the benefits of the space technology industry, nurture space technology talent, and build a space industry supply chain of Taiwan's own. In addition, the Space Development Act—Taiwan's first law governing space activities and promoting space industry development—was implemented in January 2022, while a national space center establishment act was promulgated in May 2022, demonstrating the government's active promotion of space technology capabilities through legislation and the establishment of a dedicated space agency.
Current accomplishments and future goals
■ First phase (1991 to 2006)
The program began with fostering the talent and skills needed to build an organization dedicated to the development of space technology. The first phase also saw the successful completions of the FORMOSAT-1, 2 and 3 missions. The FORMOSAT-3 program put into orbit Taiwan's first weather satellite constellation comprised of six micro-satellites. Altogether, eight satellites dedicated variously to remote sensing and the conduct of scientific experiments were operated during the first phase of the program.
■ Second phase (2004 to 2018)
The second phase was largely dedicated to the FORMOSAT-5 and 7 programs, with FORMOSAT-5 being Taiwan's first domestically researched and produced high-resolution remote-sensing satellite. An emphasis on academic research and industry development led to across-the-board improvements in Taiwan's space technology development capabilities.
■ Third phase (2019 to 2028)
The goal of the third phase of the program is to launch one satellite per year to serve as high-tech tools for national security and environmental monitoring. In cases of natural disasters, these satellites will be able to provide real-time imagery and rapidly track safety conditions on the ground and changes to the environment. Deforestation, land subsidence, and the scale and scope of natural disasters can also be monitored accurately. Projects undertaken in the third phase will serve as a springboard for the promotion of deep-space exploration and scientific innovation. For instance, Taiwan's first hybrid autonomous sounding rocket was successfully launched from Xuhai Village, Pingtung County on July 10, 2022.