Taiwan's first indigenous rocket to blast off Feb. 13

Made-in-Taiwan hybrid HAPITH-I will break world record for longest distance traveled by rocket of its kind

First Taiwan-made rocket nearing launch time in southeast county of Taitung. 

First Taiwan-made rocket nearing launch time in southeast county of Taitung.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwanese aerospace company TiSPACE Inc. plans to launch its first deep-space exploration rocket, HAPITH-I, (飛鼠一號), on Thursday (Feb. 13) outside the coastal village of Nantian in Taitung County.

The rocket was initially scheduled to launch on Dec. 27 of last year but was postponed because the company failed to reach an agreement with the indigenous Seljupetje tribe living near the launch base.

According to RTI, after almost one month of negotiations, the company received the village's consent to launch the rocket on its land. Local members of the tribe even agreed to hold a ceremony to pray for a smooth launch.

The chairman of TiSPACE, Chen Yen-sen, (陳彥升) revealed his plan to build a permanent launch base in Nantian focused on the launch of commercial communications satellites. Chen said Nantian's proximity to the ocean makes it a safe place for launching rockets without having to worry about violating the airspace of other countries, reported ETtoday.

Chen added that the hybrid-propellant rocket is undergoing its final launch simulation and that it will reach an altitude of 250 kilometers in approximately 10 minutes. Once it succeeds, it will break the previous world record of 200 kilometers at only one-tenth of the cost of a traditional rocket, RTI said.

To better prepare nearby fishing boats, the Fisheries Agency has alerted fishermen about the area to be avoided during the time of launch.

Fisheries Agency marked area between Green Island and Orchid Island as danger zone.