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Taiwan: Taiwan-made rocket launched

Taiwan: Taiwan-made rocket launched

A hybrid rocket designed and developed by National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) was launched recently, the university in Tainan, southern Taiwan announced yesterday.

Chao Yei-chin, director of the university's Aerospace Science and Technology Research Center and head of the research team, said the rocket was launched Oct. 13 from a beach area of Mudan Township in Pingtung County, also in the south of the county.

Chao said the 68-kg rocket reached an altitude of 8,000 meters and had a flight duration from take-off to disappearing from the remote tracking sensors of about 90 seconds.

"Our team will next challenge the altitude of 100 kilometers," with the aim of exploring the lower thermosphere, Chao said, adding that he expects the goal to be reached in three to five years.

He said the concept of the hybrid rocket originated around 1930 and that the first successful launch took place in 1994, followed by subsequent research and development and launches of hybrid rockets by many universities, including Stanford University in the United States, Hokkaido University of Japan, and the College of Aerospace Engineering at Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

NCKU is the first to conduct research and development of a hybrid rocket system in Taiwan. A 30 kg hybrid rocket was launched by NCKU in May 2009.

NCKU President Michael Ming-Chiao Lao said the successful launch of the rocket, entirely designed and manufactured by the university, is a "significant moment" in the school's history.

In addition, he said, the cost of rocket manufacturing is low -- a mere NT$300,000 (US$9,710) -- in comparison to military rockets or space exploration rockets, which cost millions of dollars each.

Updated : 2021-10-18 01:05 GMT+08:00