Taiwan builds sensitive satellite equipment.
Taiwan has successfully developed a key satellite component whose
export is controlled by space powers, an official said Tuesday, calling
it a "milestone" in efforts to build its own space technology.
Three Taiwanese research and weather satellites launched between 1999
and 2006 were designed abroad. A fourth scheduled to be launched next
year will be 60 percent locally made. But Taiwan had not previously
managed to build equipment to receive signals from global positioning
systems. On Tuesday the National Space Organisation (NSPO) announced it
has developed the equipment, which is on the export control list of
space powers like the United States, France and Germany. "This is
truly a milestone in efforts to build our own space technology,"
Tom Lin, an official at the NSPO flight control division, told AFP.
"In the past, export of such sensitive equipment required
government approvals, thus adding uncertainty to our projects," he
said. The equipment will be installed on a fifth satellite called
Formosa-7, which is due to be launched in 2018. Lin also said the NSPO
is striving to develop "high-resolution" satellites that
transmit photos with one-metre resolution, compared to the current two
metres. However he said the NSPO has not been tasked by the government
to develop spy satellites, although local media have said those now in
operation could be used for military purposes whenever needed. In the
face of a growing missile build-up by former rival China, Taiwan has
been working to deploy a missile defence system. But analysts say this
would be impossible without its own spy satellites. Tensions have eased
markedly in recent years but China still considers Taiwan part of its
territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. Taiwanese
experts estimate China has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island.
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