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Rocket launch promises new potential for space industry

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At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a briefing from the Ministry of Science and Technology on the results of domestic research and development in rocket science. At 6:12 a.m. Sunday, an indigenously designed rocket was successfully launched from Xuhai Village, Pingtung County in southern Taiwan, marking an inspirational moment for Taiwanese rocket science and a breakthrough milestone for the Taiwanese space industry.

The rocket launch represents three firsts, the premier said. It featured the world's first hybrid propulsion rocket with a direct-drive thrust vector control system, the first successful flight of a Taiwan-developed hybrid rocket with autonomous navigation, and the first launch of a sounding rocket since the opening of Taiwan's first national rocket launch site in Xuhai Village.

Space is part of Taiwan's Six Core Strategic Industries, the premier said, and the government is devoting over NT$25 billion (US$837.4 million) over 10 years to support Taiwan's satellite industrial supply chain. Taiwan not only possess the abilities to develop and manufacture its own satellites and rockets, but also boasts strong foundations in semiconductors, ICT and precision machinery that can help foster the space industry, Premier Su said.

As the budgets, infrastructure, regulations and industrial chains needed for space development gradually fall into place, Taiwan will continue promoting the space industry and its technologies while cultivating space tech talent. The government hopes to turn the space economy into a cluster of key industries for Taiwan and achieve the vision of sending Taiwan's capabilities into space, the premier said.

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