Taiwan indigenous village delays rocket launch

Company says project has no military links

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The rocket launch site in Daren, Taitung County.

The rocket launch site in Daren, Taitung County. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The launch of a space exploration rocket from Taitung County scheduled for December 27 has been postponed because of opposition from a nearby indigenous village, reports said Friday (December 20).

The village of Nantian, close to the coast in Daren Township, was reportedly one of the sites considered to store radioactive waste from Taiwan’s three functioning nuclear power plants, the Central News Agency reported.

When green structures were erected near the Ansu Bridge in the area, residents reportedly began showing concern about the nature of the works.

It was only when the tribal council announced a meeting for Friday that the inhabitants realized that Miaoli County-based TiSPACE Inc. wanted to launch a space exploration rocket from the site, according to CNA.

The projectile was 10 meter high, 1.5 m wide, weighed 3 tons, and was scheduled to fly 200 kilometers above the earth, the company said.

Officials said the rocket bore no relation to any military program and posed no threat to the local population. However, the mayor of Daren, who was unable to attend Friday’s village meeting, voiced his surprise that residents had only been notified days ago of the nature of the project. As a result, the meeting was deemed purely explanatory and was unable to reach a decision about the rocket firing, leading to its postponement.

TiSPACE said it would continue discussions with the villagers and would not launch a rocket until an agreement was reached.