SEOUL, South Korea — Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said Sept. 14 the country “must secure a strategic position in the space industry’s supply chain” by leveraging its competitive edge in semiconductor and precision engineering. To that end, Taiwan’s leader called for cooperation between government, the private sector and academia to launch a “local team dedicated to manufacturing satellites and ground station equipment as soon as possible.”
Tsai made the remark during a visit to the National Space Organization (NPSO), a state-run space technology developer, at the Hsinchu Science Park, according to Taiwan News and other local media outlets.
She said it’s important for Taiwan to find “a niche [in the supply chain] with a strategic significance” and the government will support the move legally and financially, referring to the legislation of the Space Development Act in May and the 25.1 billion New Taiwan dollars ($906 million) budget, which the government has set aside to invest in the local space sector by 2028.
“Every country in the world is racing against time to go to space,” The Epoch Times quoted Tsai as saying. “Tens of thousands of satellites are expected to be sent into low Earth orbit in the next decade, generating massive demand for satellite and ground equipment manufacturing. The next decade is very crucial as many nations are also planning to return to the moon and Taiwan must secure a more strategically significant position in the ‘New Space Age.’”
Tsai expressed hope that NSPO Director-General Wu Jong-shinn, nicknamed “Uncle Rocket,” would be able to “rocket” Taiwan’s space technology into space. Wu, who took office Aug. 2, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a doctorate in aerospace engineering. Since his inauguration, according to Taipei Times, Wu has restructured the NSPO to focus on the development of satellite payloads, components and avionics.
Speaking about the NSPO’s plans, Wu said weather satellite Triton is scheduled to be launched next year, and it also plans to develop a second low Earth orbit communications satellite for the “Beyond 5G project,” set to be launched in 2025 or 2026.