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First Formosat-8 satellite could be launched late 2025: TASA

04/11/2024 08:19 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, April 11 (CNA) The national civilian space agency Taiwan Space Agency (TASA) said on Thursday that the first satellite of FORMOSAT-8 could be launched at the end of 2025.

Yu Shiann-jeng (余憲政), TASA deputy director-general, said at a legislative hearing on Thursday that there is a chance the first satellite of FORMOSAT-8 will be launched at the end of next year, while the integration of the satellite is currently being tested.

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) said TASA has raised the domestic content of the satellite to in excess of 80 percent, with the precise rate calculated only after all tests are completed.

FORMOSAT-8 program is one of the priority missions of the third phase of the "National Space Technology Long-Term Development Program" in Taiwan, which was scheduled to take place from 2019 to 2028 when first approved by the Executive Yuan in 2018.

The council has proposed that the program be extended to 2031, and the official proposal will soon be sent to the Executive Yuan after cross-ministerial discussions, head of NSTC's foresight and innovation policies department Chen Kuo-liang (陳國樑) told the legislature.

Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Yi-chin (林宜瑾) said TASA was invited by the United States' Space Foundation to participate in the latter's Space Symposium for the first time in 2023, and has also been invited to attend this year, with TASA Director-General Wu Jong-shinn (吳宗信) currently heading a delegation to the event.

China on the other hand has not been invited for two consecutive years, showing that the U.S. is alarmed by China's space development, said Lin, adding that Taiwan should pay similar attention.

NSTC Deputy Minister Lin Minn-tsong (林敏聰) said space science and industry are both strategically important and relate to geopolitics, and as such China's absence from the Space Symposium is also related to geopolitical concerns.

Space technologies are part of Taiwan's "national core technologies" and strictly controlled, he continued, adding that the council and TASA will continue working to engage in exchanges and establish connections with other countries.

(By Chang Ai and Alison Hsiao)

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