Taiwan is planning to manufacture ten satellites before 2028, spending 25.1 billion NTD, in the hope of building its domestic satellite supply chain. The initiative is headed by Taiwan’s National Space Organization (NSPO), which is to be the country’s space program coordinator.
Six high-resolution optical remote sensing satellites, forming the FORMOSAT-8 constellation, will be the bulk of this ten-year program that began in 2019. The sun-synchronous satellites are expected to be launched between 2023 to 2028. Two more satellites with ultra-high resolutions, codenamed FORMOSAT 9, will be launched between 2026 and 2028, even though not much information is currently available regarding the constellation.
The development of FORMOSAT-8 marks a significant stage of Taiwan’s space autonomy project, as the program sources commercial off-the-shelf components from domestic suppliers, and aims to build a modularized, common interface to ease the entry into space industry.
FORMOSAT-10, meanwhile, will be two satellites with Synthetic Aperture Radars. They will be launched respectively in 2027 and 2029. In contrast to optical satellites, radar satellites are not constrained by weather conditions.
In addition, the Taiwanese government is to spend 4 billion NTD between 2021 and 2024 on its Beyond 5G (B5G) program. Two low-earth orbit communication satellites will be launched between 2025 and 2026.
NSPO prioritizes four main categories of components critical to the development of Taiwanese satellite industry: optical system, flight control system, electric system, and mechanical system. Gongin Precision Industry Co. and Tong Hsing Electronic Industries, already SpaceX suppliers, have also been involved in the project. The former is in charge of developing micro gas turbines, while the latter is responsible for the RF module packaging.
Meanwhile, more and more players from Taiwan’s high-tech industry, even those previously unrelated to space electronics, have joined the venture.
TSEC Corp., a manufacturer of photovoltaic panels, has recently sought a foothold in the satellite industry. Given the security implications of the industry, the Taiwanese company has recently benefited from the global trend of decoupling from Chinese suppliers, gaining a few international parters. IST group, a company offering verification and analysis services to Taiwanese IC industry, has likewise offered its first space radiation verification process for domestic suppliers.