| 10 December 2023, Sunday |

Taiwan flags space ambition with domestically developed weather satellite

President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday that Taiwan’s first home-grown weather satellite demonstrates the country’s commitment to growing its space sector. She praised the initiative as a step toward taking the island to space.

Although Taiwan has had a satellite program since the 1990s, known as FORMOSAT, the government has been given additional push because to the tension with China. The government has plans to utilize satellites in medium- and low-earth orbit for internet services in the event that China assaults and cuts down sea cables or other kinds of communication.

Sending off the Triton weather satellite to French Guiana where it will be launched in September, Tsai said more than 80% of its components were developed and produced in Taiwan and it would carry Taiwan’s own global navigation satellite system.

“The Wind-Hunter Satellite is born-and-bred made in Taiwan,” she said at Taiwan Space Agency in the northern city of Hsinchu, home to Taiwan’s world-beating semiconductor industry, referring to it by its Chinese-language name.

“The Wind-Hunter Satellite proves that with the advantages of Taiwan’s semiconductor and precision manufacturing, it is absolutely capable of entering the global space industry,” Tsai said, adding that the satellite showed Taiwan’s determination to develop a space industry and participate in the space age.

Triton will be launched into a circular low-earth orbit at an altitude of about 550-650 km (340-400 miles), according to the Taiwan Space Agency.

It is designed to collect sea surface wind data that will be combined with ground radar wind field data to better predict the path of typhoons and heavy rain, both of which subtropical Taiwan frequently gets.

The satellite will be launched on an Arianespace Vega C rideshare mission. Arianespace, a rival to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is majority-owned by a joint venture of Airbus (AIR.PA) and Safran (SAF.PA).

  • Reuters