Taiwan to launch first indigenous rocket Feb. 13

02/10/2020 04:01 PM
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Innovative Space Inc.
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Innovative Space Inc.

Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) Taiwan's first domestically built rocket, the HAPITH-1, will be launched in the eastern county of Taitung on Feb. 13, the developer Taiwan Innovative Space Inc. (TiSPACE), said Monday.

The rocket will be launched at 6 a.m. in the county's Nantian Village, home to a community of the indigenous Paiwan people, and the ceremony will include a traditional Paiwan blessing, TiSPACE said.

The HAPITH-1 was scheduled to be launched Dec. 27 last year, but TiSPACE called off the plan due to protests by the indigenous community.

Since then, representatives of TiSPACE and government agencies have visited Nantian to hold discussions with the residents, who have agreed to the launch, on condition that the residents' safety will not be at risk, village chief Kao Fu-yuan (高富源) told CNA.

According to TiSPACE Chairman Chen Yen-sen (陳彥申), the rocket's launch pad has already been built and other preparations for the Feb. 13 launch are being put in place.

The rocket is expected to travel for 10 minutes to an altitude of 250 kilometers then fall back into the ocean between Orchid Island and Green Island, said Chen, a former NASA researcher.

If the launch is successful, it would break the world record for the highest altitude reached by a rocket with a hybrid engine, which is currently 120 km, he said.

The cost of the hybrid-propellant rocket is one tenth that of a conventional rocket, which makes it highly competitive, according to Chen.

(By Lee Shien-feng and Chiang Yi-ching)

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