Taiwan Space Agencies
In the competitive world of high technology, many nations eagerly seek to capitalize on the opportunities of growth in the aerospace industry and be a global leader in its development. The ROC government has encouraged development of space technology by passing the Development Package of the Aerospace Industry in the Republic of China, and the ROC Space Technology Development Long-term (15-year) Project. The preparatory office of the National Space Program Office was established to implement policy decisions.
The Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research at National Central University is responsible for both academic and practical applications of remote sensing. A primary objective of Taiwan's efforts to develop space technology is to build a developmental structure and basic technologies related to this field. The project began with the construction of a resource satellite receiving station and the subsequent launching of three small low-earth-orbit science satellites. Domestic industries are being encouraged to engage in this program.
In January 1999, the ROCSAT-1 was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. The scientific information and data transmitted back to earth in the next four years will be sent to researchers all over the world, contributing to both domestic and global science research. The program is designed to strengthen domestic production of satellite central components, actively promote the international market, and establish a foundation for the ROC's space industry. In addition, development of space technology will contribute to upgrading the nation's related industries.
Although aerospace technology has been existence for forty years, in the past, the R.O.C. has had little involvement in aerospace activities, except for a small amount of space physics and astrophysics research. However, in recent years a number of new space research units have been established, including National Central University's graduate departments of space science and astronomy, National Cheng Kung University's aerospace graduate department, and the Academia Sinica's Institute of Astronomy. In addition, National Central University's Space and Remote Sensing Research Center receives data from France's SPOT, America's Landsat, and the European ERS resource satellites via the NSC's Resource Satellite Ground Station. The Center distributes the data to other units after it is received and processed.
In order to raise the nation's technological level and participate in the development of space science and technology, the Executive Yuan approved the "R.O.C. Aerospace Industry Development Program" in 1990 and the "R.O.C. Space Technology Development Long-term (15 year) Project" in the following year. The Executive Yuan also established the "National Space Program Office" to assume responsibility for program implementation. The "Space Science and Technology Steering Committee" and the NSC will oversee policies and administration respectively.
Because the R.O.C. has never had much of a foundation in space science and technology, the primary objectives in developing space technology must be to establish the basic framework and technology for space systems, and to utilize this foundation to implement various types of space missions. These missions will entail applying space technology in the areas of basic science, communications, environmental protection, resource exploration, transportation, agriculture, fisheries and coastal protection. These missions will lead to the establishment of a space industry producing satellite components, ground satellite communications systems and satellite data applications. Technologies developed in the space program, including systems integration, large project management and quality assurance/reliability, will be transferred to the industrial sector in an effort to upgrade industries.
The national space project began in 1991 and is scheduled to last 15 years. Funding is set at NT$ 13.6 billion. The project began with the construction of a resource satellite receiving station and will include the launch of three small low-orbit science satellites.
The Space Program Office plans to develop a series of small satellites in the wake of the ROCSAT-1. Still in the planning phase, these satellites will make further use of the satellite receiving stations and data processing facilities already established in Taiwan. The role of the domestic space industry will be to increase its stature as the satellite programs are successively implemented. The aerospace industry will also use the technology and experience it has acquired to capture a share of the world space market.
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