Taiwan’s Cabinet approves space development promotion act (update)

Taipei-Taiwan's Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft act regulating space-based activities and promoting the development of space-related industries.

The approval of the draft act on space development promotion, the first of its kind in Taiwan, highlights the country's ambition to keep up with international trends and usher in a new era for space technology development, Premier Su Tseng-chang (???) said at a Cabinet meeting.

Su noted that the draft act was approved after the Executive Yuan in 2018 agreed to allocate NT$25 billion (US$894.11 million) to a national space project proposed by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

The focus of the project is primarily satellite development and the cultivation of professionals with space technology-related expertise.

The premier said the draft act stipulates that a dedicated agency should be established to promote space technology development, and he instructed government agencies to work with MOST to build up the space economy with the aim of enabling domestically built rockets to launch locally made satellites as soon as possible.

Su's remarks were relayed to the press via Cabinet Secretary-General Li Meng-yen (???) after the meeting.

The draft act will be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for review and will be classified as a priority bill, according to Li.

Under the draft act, MOST is designated as the competent authority and will establish a dedicated agency to deal with related affairs, the ministry said.

With 22 articles, the draft law has six chapters, covering four areas such as the principles of development that are in line with international space laws, regulating space-based activities to ensure safety, establishing rocket launch sites and promoting industrial development, according to the ministry.

MOST Deputy Minister Lin Minn-tsong (???) said on Thursday that the draft act aims to regulate the emerging space technologies in their development phases and promote the development of the space industry.

It states that the central government should encourage private investment in space-related companies, promote applications of aerospace technology and establish a reward measure to spur private sector participation.

The bill will have to pass its third reading in the Legislative Yuan before becoming a law and coming into effect, Lin said, adding that four of its related sub-laws will then be formulated, including one regulating registration of launch vehicles and space vehicles, one governing a licensing system for launch vehicles and one involving the establishment, operation and management of launch sites.

Meanwhile, turning to its satellite launch plans in the near term, MOST said that the launch of weather satellite Triton is scheduled for next year, while the first and second satellites of Formosat-8 are planned to be launched in 2023 and 2024, respectively, and Taiwan's first low-orbit communications satellite the Beyond 5G is set to be launched in 2025.

From 2026-2029, one satellite will be launched each year, according to the ministry.

The draft act also prescribes punishment for breaches of related regulations. Owners and users of launch vehicles and space launch vehicles who fail to register them in accordance with the law could face a fine ranging from NT$200,000 to NT$2 million, while those who illegally launch vehicles in Taiwan without obtaining a license could face a jail term of no more than five years and a fine of NT$1 million to NT$10 million.

In addition, individuals, corporations or groups that use space launch vehicles to gather data and information about Earth and other celestial bodies have the ownership of these data and information but the competent authority could direct them to provide the data and information for the use of the government and others, with compensation, if they are related to major national interests and national security and could influence public safety.

Those who fail to meet the demand in a certain specified time period could face a fine of NT$500,000 to NT$5 million, according to the draft act.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel