The push to develop aerospace technology

  • Date: 2019-05-28

The primary focus of Taiwan’s Long-term National Space Technology 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$797.2 million) will be invested to push domestic aerospace technology to new heights and meet the challenges of cutting-edge space missions. At the same, the program also aims to extend and spread the benefits of the aerospace technology industry, nurture space technology talent, and build an aerospace industry supply chain of Taiwan’s own.

Current accomplishments and future goals

◆ First phase (1991 to 2006)
The first phase 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 aerospace 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. Finally, projects undertaken in the third phase will serve as a springboard for the promotion of deep-space exploration and scientific innovation.