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Premier praises space S&T success, anticipates future development

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At the Cabinet meeting today, Premier Jiang Yi-huah praised various institutions' efforts on the FORMOSAT satellite and sounding rocket projects and instructed the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to meticulously plan forward-looking space science and technology (S&T) programs for the coming decade.

The premier also instructed the MOST to do the following:

  • Promote space S&T research and development (R&D) and enhance application of R&D results.
  • Carry out autonomous development of satellite components and sounding rockets.
  • Cultivate S&T talent.
  • Promote collaborations between industry, academia and research institutes.
  • Explore and develop innovative technologies for application in future living environments so as to realize the president's goal of the ROC (Taiwan) becoming a strong nation via innovation.

Meanwhile, scientific knowledge should be presented in a clear and easily comprehensible manner, using layman's terms, in order to further popularize the subject and increase awareness of the nation's achievements in space technology, Jiang added. He acknowledged that progress is being made in popularizing science thanks to MOST Minister Chang San-cheng's related efforts since taking office, but called for continuous advances.

The premier made these remarks after a briefing by the MOST on the progress made in implementing the FORMOSAT and sounding rocket projects. He praised the MOST, National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) and National Chung-Shan Institute of Science & Technology (CSIST) for their successful efforts in these areas.

The purpose of the space S&T development program is to build up the nation's autonomous development of satellite-system capabilities, and according to the report, domestic ionosphere scientific instrument research, autonomous development of an advanced ionosphere Planar Langmuir Probe, and hybrid-rocket propellant combustion efficiency are all on par with international standards, Jiang noted.

The sounding rocket is the only tool for exploring the earth's atmosphere 50 to 300 kilometers above sea level. The NARLabs' National Space Organization has worked with the CSIST (which is under the Ministry of National Defense) and domestic academic institutions to jointly carry out sounding rocket experiments ever since the ROC initiated the program in 1998. According to the MOST, the successful flight test of Sounding Rocket 10 this October concluded the project's phasic tasks. To date, 10 solid-fuel and four hybrid rockets have been fired.

The MOST pointed out that the sounding-rocket test flights verified the performance and reliability of satellite components and scientific instruments autonomously developed by the ROC, and the nation gradually advanced its sounding rocket technology through relevant projects.

Moving forward, plans will be drawn up to build on existing program achievements, pioneer domestic R&D in advanced rocket technology and build up relevant innovation capabilities, and cultivate space S&T talent.

About 650 master's and doctoral candidates as well as 300 high school students took part in the sounding rocket program over the course of its implementation. This participation helped these students put down roots in S&T and apply their knowledge, cultivated R&D innovation talents, and laid an important foundation for future space S&T development.

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