Taiwan flagged its space ambition as President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday marked the departure of the nation’s first indigenously engineered weather satellite from the Taiwan Space Agency at an event at the Hsinchu Science Park.
While Taiwan has since the 1990s had a satellite program, called Formosat, tensions with China have given the government extra impetus, with plans to use satellites in medium and low Earth orbit for Internet services that would be a backup in the event that China severed undersea cables or other communication links.
The Triton satellite — or Wind Hunter (獵風者) — is being shipped to French Guiana, where it is to be launched on an Arianespace Vega rocket in September.
“The Wind Hunter satellite was born and bred in Taiwan,” Tsai said, adding that almost everything about the spacecraft, from conceptual design to manufacturing, was done in Taiwan.
“The Wind Hunter proves that with the advantages of Taiwan’s semiconductor and precision manufacturing, the nation is absolutely capable of entering the global space industry,” she said.
The satellite shows Taiwan’s determination to develop a space industry and participate in the space age, she said.
Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters
Triton is to be put into a circular low Earth orbit at an altitude of about 550km to 650km, the Taiwan Space Agency said.
It is to collect sea-surface wind data that would be combined with ground radar wind field data to better predict heavy rain and the paths of typhoons.
Taiwan Space Agency Director-General Wu Jong-shinn (吳宗信) said that Triton was initially planned to be one of the satellites making up the Formosat-7 constellation before being retasked following structural changes to the nation’s space program.
The changes meant that Triton would be made almost entirely in Taiwan in a move aimed at bolstering the domestic aerospace industry, Wu said, adding that research and development for Triton began in 2014.
Eighty-three percent of its key components were manufactured domestically, showing how much the nation’s spacecraft research and development capabilities have improved, he said.
Triton’s launch would be a boon to the global meteorological community, as many satellites have been retired in the past few years, he said.
The commercialization of space exploration began a mere four years ago and the nation has kept pace with progress in the sector, National Science and Technology Council Minister Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) said.
In May, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sent a delegation to Taiwan and expressed interest in collaborative efforts involving Triton, he said, adding that meteorological satellites are highly versatile.
PALAU LAUNCHES: The source said that Taiwanese military personnel traveled to Palau, where a US brigade watched their work amid plans for a defense network The military last month participated in live-fire launches of MM-104F Patriot (PAC-3) missiles under US observation in an undisclosed location in Palau, a step forward in a US-led plan to create a joint defense missile system in the first island chain, a source said on condition of anonymity. The PAC-3 is the mainstay surface-to-air missile of the US, NATO and democratic nations in East Asia, the source said, adding that it has never been live-tested within Taiwan’s borders, the source said. The proximity of Taiwan to China and China’s close surveillance of the nation’s borders and nearby sea zones is a significant
IN MOURNING: Tsai visited the site and spoke with family members of those killed, while all the major presidential candidates said they would temporarily halt campaigning A fire and subsequent explosions at a golf ball factory at Pingtung Technology Industrial Park (屏東科技產業園區) killed at least seven people, including four firefighters, and injured 98, while three were still missing, authorities said yesterday. The blaze at Launch Technologies Co’s (明揚國際) plant on Jingjian Road raged for more than 12 hours after it started at about 5pm on Friday, officials said. The Pingtung County Fire Bureau early yesterday used large excavators to search for missing people, while family members waited at the scene. Pingtung County Fire Bureau Director Hsu Mei-hsueh (許美雪) said the bureau received a call about the fire at 5:31pm
DETERRENCE: The president on Thursday is to launch the first indigenous submarine, which is to enter sea trials next month before being delivered to the navy next year Taiwan hopes to deploy at least two new, domestically developed submarines by 2027, and possibly equip later models with missiles to bolster its deterrence against the Chinese navy and protect key supply lines, the head of the program said. Taiwan has made the Indigenous Submarine Program a key part of an ambitious project to modernize its armed forces as Beijing stages almost daily military exercises. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who initiated the program when she took office in 2016, is expected to launch the first of eight new submarines on Thursday under a plan that has drawn on expertise and technology from
FISHING FUROR: The latest spat was sparked by a floating barrier that was found across the entrance of Scarborough Shoal during a resupply mission to fishers Beijing yesterday warned Manila not to “stir up trouble” after the Philippine Coast Guard said it removed a floating barrier at a disputed reef that was allegedly deployed by China to block Filipino fishers from the area. Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island, 黃岩島) in the South China Sea has long been a source of tension between the nations. China seized the ring of reefs from the Philippines in 2012 and has since deployed patrol boats. The latest spat was sparked by a 300m floating barrier that was found across the entrance of the shoal last week during a routine Philippine government resupply mission