Taiwan's space agency rebrands as TASA after official upgrade

01/06/2023 05:57 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, fifth left). CNA photo Jan. 6, 2022
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, fifth left). CNA photo Jan. 6, 2022

Taipei, Jan. 6 (CNA) Taiwan's national space agency officially unveiled its new name Taiwan Space Agency (TASA) on Friday after it was upgraded earlier in the week by being placed under the Cabinet-level National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).

The Hsinchu City-based entity, previously called the National Space Organization in English, has been renamed the Taiwan Space Agency to improve readability and international recognition by having "Taiwan" added to its designation, according to the NSTC.

"The reorganization is a very important milestone for the country's space development" as domestic technology will now receive more international credibility, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in a speech at the rebranding ceremony in Hsinchu.

She said after the reorganization, TASA will also be tasked with important assignments, such as working with the Ministry of Economic Affairs to upgrade the space industry and working with the Ministry of Education to train more talent in the space industry.

"In order to seize [international] business opportunities, we have been proactively preparing to install ourselves in space. Taiwan's 30 years of development of space technology and its accumulated results in research and development of satellites have given it an excellent track record," Tsai said.

CNA video Jan. 6, 2023

TASA Director General Wu Jong-shinn (吳宗信) told reporters after the ceremony that the reorganization would allow the agency to have more resources as it is tasked to assist Taiwan's space development.

Taiwan's advantage in space development is that it has already developed the necessary fundamentals and is at a stage where it is researching and developing its own components, Wu said.

TASA will also be looking to recruit around 300 new staff over the next three years to its current staff of around 200, Wu added.

"So that's basically double [the staff], that's the first thing, and secondly the restructuring also allows for a raise in salaries, which will be more attractive compared to the past," he said.

The restructuring was implemented on Jan. 1 in accordance with the Act for the Establishment of the Taiwan Space Agency, which was promulgated on May 4, 2022.

The upgraded status aims to enhance national space technology research and development capabilities, to implement national space strategies and plans, and to promote the development of space activities and space industry, according to the Act.

The TRITON (Wind-Hunter Satellite). CNA file photo
The TRITON (Wind-Hunter Satellite). CNA file photo

Originally established in 1991 as the National Space Program Office under the National Space Technology Long-Term Development Program, the entity was placed under the National Applied Research Laboratory in 2003 and renamed the National Space Organization in 2005 before its latest reorganization.

Since 1999, the agency has seen the launch of the Formosat-1, Formosat-2, Formosat-3, Formosat-5, and Formosat-7 satellites.

The Formosat-5 and Formosat-7 constellations are still in service, while the Formosat-8, a constellation of six high-resolution optical remote sensing satellites, is to be launched in 2024 and 2025.

Another satellite that is slated to lift to the skies this year is the TRITON (Wind-Hunter Satellite), which will conduct research on air-sea interaction and typhoon intensity prediction, Wu said.

"Through a GPS receiver we can measure the height of the waves in the sea and calculate the speed of the wind, which is very important for our daily weather predictions," Wu said.

(By William Yen)

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