by Jia-Jheng Yeh
Space industry has become the focus of development for many countries, which put into all resources into the game. The following is an introduction of the development of space industry in Taiwan
Uncle Rocket- Jong-Shinn Wu
Prof. Jong-Shinn Wu, also known as “Uncle Rocket”, is the director at Advanced Rocket Research Center (ARRC) at National Chiao Tung University. In 2010, Wu tested the first large hybrid sounding rocket in Taiwan as a trial launch, followed by another 28 tests completed with his team. Wu also gives speeches throughout Taiwan, advocating the development of space launch industry in Taiwan.
In 2015, Wu launched a crowdfunding campaign, with the aim of keeping the operation of ARRC and launching hybrid rockets to an altitude of 100 kilometers. A total of over NT$12 million was raised in two years; five years later, Wu initiated a second campaign, and his goal was to launch a trial satellite carrier, which is a rocket that is capable of carrying satellites into space in future missions with further development and improvement.
The ARRC team is currently working on the suspension system and its control of a rocket. It is expected to be completed this July and the operators should be able to control a launched rocket with stability. As long as it succeeds, Taiwan has the opportunity to launch its own carrier rockets in the near future.
Tensor Tech- Taiwan’s First Satellite System Company
For microsatellites in commercial use, space utilization and weight reduction are essential. Tensor Tech, established in 2019 by four young entrepreneurs aging below 21 in average, is the first satellite system company in Taiwan. The young founders participated in the Talent Cultivation Project for Science in their first year of high school and conducted research in the laboratory at the Department of Electrical Engineering of National Cheng Kung University (NCKU). At that time, there was a project co-hosted by NCKU and National Space Organization (NSPO) where the team was working on a single-axis motor. The four students saw an animation featuring a car in spherical shape like a tire that could go in all directions with 360-degree rotation. That gave them an amazing idea for developing spherical motors, and they have been working on the research and development of the motor since 2016.
They developed a spherical motor that can reduce the weight by two-thirds and power consumption of those with the motor currently used on a satellite. In the past, one satellite requires three motors for operation, while their spherical motor can rotate on three axes at the same time, which makes it possible to adjust the satellite angle during missions. With this design, one satellite only requires one motor. It is expected that in June, the spherical motor will be launched, along with designs by another 2 partners, SpaceX and SatRevolution, a Polish satellite company, for another space test.
Products in the space industry are relatively lesser-known to the public, but Taiwan, when it is capable of launching its self-made rocket into the sky, still has a chance to show its capabilities in research and development as well as in system integration, when it comes to cutting-edge technology. It can also encourage more people to dare to dream big.