UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Taiwan Sounding Rockets

Taiwan Sounding RocketsThere are currently four main tools for space science research: ground observation equipment, sounding balloons, sounding rockets, and artificial satellites. These four detection tools have their own characteristics and limitations, but they do not replace each other, but connect with each other. Sounding rockets are used to make up for the lack of sounding spheres and satellites to detect space. The earth’s atmosphere within 50km is within the scope of sounding sphere detection. The detection missions in the space beyond 300 km are mostly performed by artificial satellites, while 50km to 300 km Space exploration in between is performed by sounding rockets.

Up to now, the world has launched tens of thousands of sounding rocket experiments. Generally speaking, countries with space programs also have sounding rocket programs, such as the United States, Japan, Russia, China, Canada, India, Brazil, South Korea, etc. In addition to national sounding rocket programs, some universities also have launch bases to launch sounding rockets on their own. For example, the launch base of the University of Alaska (Fairbanks) is in the Poker Flat Research Range. However, the sounding rocket experiments of these countries are only carried out over their own countries, so Taiwan’s sounding rocket experiments are unique in both geography (closest to the equator) and science.

Taiwan’s sounding rocket research and development project originated from the National Space Center’s support for the development of sounding rocket technology in 1997, and a total of three sounding rockets were launched between 2003. In order to cooperate with the second phase of the National Space Science and Technology Development Long-Range Program, the sounding rocket scientific experiment program was established. The implementation period of the whole program is 15 years from January 2004 to December 2018.

Taiwan’s sounding rocket research and development project was coordinated by the National Space Center in 1997, with the support of sounding rocket technology by the Sun Yat-sen Academy of Sciences, and the university team carried out experimental planning and payload production. Up to 2003, a total of 3 were launched. Sounding rocket. In the second phase of the National Space Science and Technology Development Long-Range Plan, the "Suborbital Scientific Experiment Project" was established, and it was implemented through open solicitation. At the same time, domestic academic research institutions were encouraged to propose long-range scientific research and payload instrument development plans to further improve The level of the entire space application. Between 2004 and 2014, a total of 7 sounding rocket experiments were conducted over Taiwan.

In these 10 sounding rocket experiments, except for the first test flight, which did not carry a payload and only collected temperature and vibration data, the other 9 had related experiments. The apogee height of Taiwan’s sounding rocket is about 200-300 kilometers, and it is launched at an elevation angle greater than 75 degrees. It can carry a payload greater than 50 kilograms, but the total experimental time from launch to fall into the sea does not exceed 10 minutes.

The 10 sounding rocket experiments are mainly divided into two types: space science research, including atmospheric neutral wind field measurement (Exploration 2 and 3), atmospheric glow photometric measurement (Detection 4), and ionospheric plasma environment And irregular volume measurement (Tan 5, Tan 7, Tan 9 and Tan 10); engineering technology development and verification, hydrazine single-base propulsion system (Tan 6), recovery chamber experiment (Tan 6, Tan 8), peroxide Hydrogen single-base propulsion system (Tan 8), micro-electromechanical attitude measuring instrument and single-axis fiber optic gyroscope (Tan 9), rocket rotation reduction experiment (Tan 10).

The scientific and engineering experiments of these sounding rockets have not only greatly enhanced Taiwan’s capabilities in space science research and payload development and production, they have also become pilot experiments and verifications of satellite scientific instruments and related engineering technologies, which have contributed to Taiwan’s advancement in peaceful space. Played an important role.

Sounding rocket characteristics

Rocket shooting height
200~300 kilometers
Rocket range 100~200 kilometers
Flight time 300~1000 seconds
Rocket length about 8 meters
Rocket weight less than 2000 kg
elevation angle greater than 75° close to vertical

Sounding rocket mission

dateMemoKey Technology Development Projectresults
1998.12.15.Sounding One rocket launchEngineering flight test, no payloadThe mission was successful, and various atmospheric temperature and vibration data were collected during the flight.
2001.10.24.Sounding 2 rocket launchTrimethyl aluminum (TMA) scientific payload (in cooperation with Clemson University, South Carolina, USA)In the second quarter, the rocket failed to ignite and the mission was terminated.
2003.12.24.Sounding 3 rocket launchTrimethyl aluminum (TMA) scientific payload (homemade)Mission success
2004.12.14.Sounding 4 rocket launchSelf-made GPS, photometer, nose cone opening windowMission success
2006.1.18.Sounding 5 rocket launchSelf-made ion detector, three-axis magnetometer, nose cone opening, air-glow joint measurement with Fuwei IIMission success
2007.9.13.Sounding 6 rocket launchSelf-made recovery tank, hydrazine (N 2 H 4 ) single-base thrusterThe launch was successful, and the hydrazine single-base propulsion experiment was completed and part of the recovery module data downloaded, but the recovery was not completed.
2010.5.5.Sounding 7 rocket launchSelf-made ion detector, GPS, and Fuwei-3 for joint measurement of ionospheric electron density and plasma irregularitiesMission success
2010.9.17.Hybrid rocket launchEngineering flight test, no payload, development of safe and environmentally friendly hybrid rocket technologyThe mission was successful and free flight below 30km was completed .
2013.6.5.Sounding 8 rocket launchSelf-made hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 ) single-base thruster, payload separation, recovery capsule attitude control and communication experiment, quasi-satellite system testThe separation of the recovery capsule and the rocket, the operation of the experimental procedures and the downloading of the data were completed, and the tracking of the whole course was achieved, but the recovery was not completed.
2014.3.26.Sounding 9 rocket launchSelf-made ionospheric payload, joint measurement with ground radar systemMission success
2014.10.7Sounding 10 rocket launchSelf-made ionospheric payload and roll control mechanism (Yo-Yo De-spin Mechanism)The mission was successful, and the rocket's roll rate decreased from 4 revolutions per second to 1.1 revolutions per second required for the experiment.
Taiwan Sounding Rockets

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list