On Friday, Taiwan’s Cabinet approved a draft bill on regulations to develop the space industry, being the first regulation for space affairs in Taiwan’s history. The framework is dedicated to underpin the nation’s space industry development including commercial spacecraft. The draft bill is now submitted for legislative bodies to review.
The draft bill aligns with President Tsai Ing-wen’s announcement of placing the space sector as one of the Six Core Strategic Industries during the presidential inauguration in January 2020.
Although Taiwan launched the first phase of the National Space Technology Development Program in 1991 to push for space technology development, regulations in related areas have been delayed for almost three decades.
The move shows the Taiwanese government is embracing development in the space sector in recent years, which came after Premier Su announced the third phase of the Space Development Program in 2019, seeking to invest NTD$ 25.1 billion(US$ 882.5 million) in the span of ten years to launch a satellite to outer space each year. Meanwhile, he established the“Taiwan Space Industry Development Association” to incorporate experts from the government, academics, and the industry.
The draft bill covers two key perspectives, the first is making clear strict liabilities to the operators and ensure uninvolved general parties’ rights when being affected by spaceflight activities. In the past, controversy had been raised over the unlicensed occupation of Taiwan’s indigenous groups-owned territory for conducting spaceflight purposes.
The introduced draft bill sets rules for future operators to consult indigenous tribes beforehand to safeguard property rights. Operators need licensing to conduct space activities and must strictly comply with environmental sustainability and national security laws.
Another key aspect is to promote commercial space activities and boast indigenously produced satellites, including creating launch test platforms for private sectors to grow faster on a well-established basis. The draft bill covers provisions granting MOST(Ministry of Science and Technology) the managing institution for promoting the space economy.
MOST pointed out, there are over 31 countries that have regulations in space activities such as the US Commercial Space Launch Act, New Zealand’s Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Bill, and South Korea’s Space Development Promotion Act. Taiwan is one of the 32 countries that has its own satellites. A few commercial space companies have been registered and reached into a commercialized space era.
Back in the day, Taiwan only developed the technical side of space technology, this is the first complete regulation that allows the space industry to develop under safer terms.