Taiwan has the potential to make significant contributions to the global space industry because of its strong semiconductor, ICT and precision machinery industries (TT, 2022). According to former Premier Su Tseng-chang, Taiwan will invest US$837.4 million over the next ten years so relevant industries and academic institutions can help turn the country into an international player in space (EY, 2022).
Since 2019, The 3rd phase of the “National Space Technology Long-Term Development Program” has been guiding Taiwan’s public sector space projects. The program plans to launch one satellite per year until 2028 to bolster national security and environmental monitoring (EY, 2022). By the time the 3rd phase ends, Taiwan aims to have a six-satellite constellation in orbit, which includes Formosat-8, a satellite that will be developed through public-private collaboration. (Chen, n.d.).
Other public-private collaborations include the Triton, which is the country’s first locally built weather satellite. The Taiwan Space Agency (formerly the National Space Organization) has brought 20 Taiwanese companies on board to source 82% of Triton’s components. Taiwan plans to launch Triton into low Earth orbit sometime in 2023 and will use remote sensing images of the ocean’s surface to predict the strength and trajectory of typhoons (MOFA, 2022).
The “National Space Technology Long-Term Development Program” also emphasizes progress in indigenous launch capabilities. In 2022, the Ministry of Science and Technology (now the National Science and Technology Council) launched a sounding rocket to test a novel form of hybrid-propellant propulsion technology, flight controls, and ground systems (NARL, 2022). Relevant agencies will use this data during the next phase of rocket testing, which aims to build up the capacity to send satellites into space (NARL, 2022).
Taiwan plans to develop future public space projects through the Taiwan Space Agency (TSA). The central government recently restructured the TSA so it could work directly with national level agencies such as the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Education to promote public-private partnerships (Yen, 2023).
The TSA will also be tasked with carrying out the provisions of the Space Development Act, which was passed in 2021. According to the Act, the TSA is responsible for training additional space industry talent to develop novel space technology (MOJ, 2021). According to TSA Deputy Director General R. Shiann-Jeng Yu, the agency will maintain close ties with Taiwan’s premier academic institutions to “assemble a strong base of scientists and engineers” while partnering with “homegrown firms” that can manufacture components needed in satellites and rockets such as “electronic devices, flight control systems, optical instruments and solar panels” (TT, 2021). This will help Taiwan achieve one of its near-term goals, which is manufacturing a Beyond 5G low Earth orbit communications satellite by 2025 (Lin, 2021).
Through the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, Vietnam has focused on international collaboration to develop indigenous small satellites, Earth Observation (EO) applications, and cultivating young space talent (VAST, 2022).
Efforts to start building small satellites started in 2016 under a collaborative national space technology program with Japan (Nguyet, 2021). In 2021, these efforts came to fruition when Vietnam launched its first locally engineered satellite, NanoDragon, from Japan. Vietnam planned to use the satellite to check the entry and exit of vessels going into the country as well as improving national navigation systems (VNN, 2021). However, NanoDragon’s operators had yet to receive a signal a month after it launched (Nguyet, 2021).
Vietnam has also collaborated with France to develop the country’s EO capabilities. In 2013, French aerospace company Airbus built an EO satellite for Vietnam. A follow-up for this program was arranged in 2021, which included an MoU on refining Vietnamese EO systems and bolstering technology transfer to improve climate change monitoring and educational models (AB, 2021).
To further bolster EO capabilities, Vietnam is also partnering with the India Space Research Organisation to develop a comprehensive ground systems facility. The 18-month collaboration will construct a center that will provide data reception, processing, and dissemination for remote sensing over ASEAN countries (TC, 2021).
Vietnam’s latest collaboration with Japan, which was announced in 2020, centers around the manufacture and launch of the LOTUSat-1 system, which also includes programs to develop “local human capacity.” According to the program, Japan’s NEC Corporation will train local expertise that can help the country develop indigenous hardware, enhance EO capabilities and strengthen disaster forecasting (SW, n.d.).
According to Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Space Center Le Xuan Huy, Vietnam stands to benefit economically from space industry applications in a wide array of fields such as “environmental monitoring, meteorology, mapping, forecasting, and impact assessment of climate change.” Therefore, the country plans to continue developing its space sector through “strategy for the development and application of aerospace science and technology by 2030” (VP, 2022).
India has had a developed indigenous launch sector for many years. Thanks to its comprehensive infrastructure, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), India’s national space agency, has generated $94 million in revenue from 2017-2022 by helping 19 countries launch 179 satellites into space (2022, AIRN). According to Asian Development Bank Institute Director Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, India has the potential to occupy more of the launch market because Russia is not a viable collaborative partner for many countries due to the war in Ukraine (Anbumozhi, 2022).
Therefore, India is focusing on creating a more progressive regulatory framework that allows foreign and domestic startups to launch their payloads with government assistance (Anbumozhi, 2022). To enable such partnerships, ISRO established the Indian National Space Promotion Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), which now acts as a single point of contact between ISRO and nascent technological innovation in the space sector (ISRO, n.d.). For instance, IN-SPACe helped organize a launch between the ISRO and two private space companies last year. In the future, IN-SPACe also aims to help private companies develop “full-stack satellite development,” which includes launch deployment by granting access to ISRO’s resources (Das, 2022).
In terms of satellite development, India has already made progress in adapting to the need for smaller satellites used in low Earth orbit communications. At the beginning of 2023, India put a Small Satellite Launch Vehicle into orbit, which a small team was able to assemble in roughly a week. Such launch vehicles are more adaptable to the changing needs of industry and can carry satellite buses that attach payloads in a standardized fashion (Dutt, 2023).
In contrast, India has launched most of its satellites from its hallmark Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. These large vehicles take teams of up to 600 people six months to construct (Dutt, 2023). However, Indian experts suspect that this type of satellite won’t be able to carry payloads necessary for future applications. Therefore, in addition to smaller launch vehicles, the country is looking into developing reusable rockets by 2030 (2022, Sunilkumar). Reusable rockets allow operators to deliver payloads at lower cost and features hypersonic flight and autonomous landing capabilities (ISRO, n.d.).
Australia hopes to increase the size of its space industry to AUD$12 billion by 2030 by focusing on a wide array of applications from earth observation to navigation as well as developing necessary hardware in areas such as indigenous launch capabilities, advanced propellants, and small satellites (GA, n.d.). The country aims to achieve its goals through projects led by the Australian Space Agency (ASA) and public-private partnerships (ATIC, 2022).
In the Earth observation from space roadmap 2021–2030, the ASA laid out many of the country’s priorities in space development, which includes securing access to Earth observation (EO) data, public-private sector coordination, and data quality assurance (DISR, 2021). The AUD$1.2 billion program, hopes to take advantage of the country’s southern hemisphere location to develop indigenous EO satellites and a network of ground equipment facilities that can calibrate in-orbit vehicles and verify incoming data (CISRO, 2022).
In terms of public-private sector partnerships, the ASA allotted AUD$157 million to develop indigenous space manufacturing and launching capabilities through the Australian Space Manufacturing Network (Psihogios, 2022). The ASA granted AUD$52 million to Gilmore Space so it could develop “an advanced manufacturing facility to produce launch vehicles and satellites” (ATIC, 2022). In April, Gilmour Space plans to launch Australia’s first indigenous rocket, which also features the world’s first ever solid and liquid hybrid fuel booster (Seidel, 2023).
Australia also funds other space-related projects through the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), which is a corporate entity of the Australian government dedicated towards facilitating applied research (CSIRO, n.d.). One such project will provide AUD$12 million to space startup Quasar Satellite Technologies to develop Australia’s ground segment as a service (GSaaS) industry.
Traditionally, satellite companies had to negotiate with a single ground system location for rights to use their equipment to communicate with one specific satellite (Hidalgo, n.d.). However, Quasar’s GSasS aims to grant users access to a network of ground services through cloud technology, so their private and public sector clients from around the world can communicate with hundreds of satellites simultaneously (SN, 2022).
Outside of public funding, Australia’s private space sector has also grown significantly in recent years. Through a collaboration with US-based company SpaceX this January, Skykraft launched 5 Australian-made satellites weighing 300 kilograms, which is more than the total mass of all Australian space objects ever launched up to that point (APDR, 2023).
Over the next two years, Skycraft expects to launch a total of 200 satellites to improve global Air Traffic Management services (Seidel, 2023). This constellation of satellites will lower the risk of mid-air collisions, reduce the consumption of jet fuel, and track the safety of aircraft in remote locations by improving communications between air traffic control and pilots (APDR, 2023).