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Feng Chia University test launches research rocket on 2nd try

11/12/2023 06:10 PM
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Photo courtesy of Taiwan Space Agency Nov. 12, 2023
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Space Agency Nov. 12, 2023

Taipei, Nov. 12 (CNA) A research team at Feng Chia University (FCU) on Sunday successfully launched a scientific research rocket from a site in Pingtung County, after its first attempt failed the previous day.

The small hybrid rocket called the SHSR-Aerol is intended to launch satellites, according to Yeh Chun-liang (葉俊良), a professor in FCU's Department of Aerospace and Systems Engineering who heads the research team of 25 teachers and students.

After a failed launch attempt Saturday due to an engine problem, the SHSR-Aerol took off successfully on Sunday from the site in Pingting's Syuhai Village and reached a height of 200 meters, which was in line with the team's expectations, Yeh said.

The purpose of the launch was to test the hybrid rocket's structure, propulsion technology, electronic system, engine combustion chamber, the mixture ratio of fuel and oxidizer, and its navigation, telemetry and control applications, he said.

The thrust of the hybrid rocket's engine, however, is only about one-third of what the full-size rocket will be able to achieve, Yeh said.

When the full-size rocket is complete, it will be used to launch satellites, he said, adding that the projected timeline for the first test flight is the second half of 2024.

FCU is fully aware that satellite and rocket development is the primary focus of Taiwan's long-term national space technology program, according to Yeh.

In February 2022, Yeh and his research team at the Taichung-based private university joined the Small Research Rocket Development Project, led by the Taiwan Space Agency (TASA), to develop a small hybrid research rocket with a propulsion system that can be used for future missions, according to a statement issued by the TASA on Sunday.

In addition to participating in the TASA rocket research program, the university last year also introduced a Master's Program of Space System Engineering, in line with the government's policy of cultivating talent for the space industry.

As part of the TASA program, a rocket launch site was designated last year in Syuhai Village for use by universities and other institutions engaged in space research.

The SHSR-Aerol was the fifth rocket to be launched from the site since then, after National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University's HT TP-3A S2, National Cheng Kung University's two-stage hybrid rocket, and Tamkang University's TKU-MK1 and its 2.87-meter arrow-shaped rocket dubbed Jessie, according to the TASA.

(By Lee Hui-ting and Evelyn Kao)


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