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Taiwan’s developing interest in LEO satellites

Taiwan is stepping up its efforts to tap into the global aerospace market, with a focus on developing a specific kind of satellite, Minister of Science and Technology, Wu Tsung-tsong, said on July 6.

The development of LEO satellites are particularly worth pursuing for Taiwan, Wu said in an interview with the Central News Agency, referring to orbits with a maximum altitude of 2,000 km. “It is an opportunity Taiwan definitely cannot afford to miss,” he said. Such satellites, which are often deployed in constellations, have a relatively short life cycle of two to four years compared with larger ones and, therefore, offer more of an opportunity for Taiwanese businesses, he said.

LEO satellites are crucial to the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), which has been pursued by global technology and communications heavyweights. LEO communications satellites, which are relatively inexpensive, can be launched in large enough numbers to economically provide sufficient bandwidth for data transmission rates that IoT applications require, he said. This means that there is a high-demand sector that no longer relies on highly advanced technology only affordable to superpowers, Wu said, adding that the sector has a relatively low market threshold that countries like Taiwan can explore. Taiwan hopes to one day manufacture its own LEO satellites, he said.

The government this year launched a four-year, NT$4 billion ($142.83 million) project with the aim of launching its first LEO communications satellite in 2025.

In the meantime, Taiwan can capitalize on its years of experience as an original equipment manufacturer to become part of the LEO satellite supply chain, National Space Organization Acting Director-General, Yu Shiann-jeng, said. SatNews

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