On May 3 this year, a research rocket from National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University's Advanced Rocket Research Center (ARRC) was scheduled to launch at the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST)'s launch site in Xuhai Village of Mudan Township, Pingtung County. However, due to various reasons, the May launch was cancelled. On July 10, ARRC took on the challenge again, successfully launching their rocket at 6:12 AM. Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-Tsong expressed his appreciation for the team's efforts and his gratitude to the Mudan Township Office and the indigenous community of Xuhai in Pingtung for their support.
The launch served as the first flight test of the second section of the HTTP-3A rocket, and is part of a project carried out by ARRC for the Ministry of Science of Technology. The rocket's flight time was about 2 minutes and its altitude reached roughly 3 kilometers. The launch tested the controllable hybrid-propellant rocket's propulsion technology, flight navigation controls, ground support system, and parachute recovery system. All data from the launch preparation and flight will be used when preparing the next phase of flight testing.
According to ARRC Deputy Director Shih-Sin Wei, the team's main project is building a hybrid fuel sounding rocket with flight navigation control which does not require a launcher to guide flight direction and can take off vertically. The rocket's flight path is adjusted by ARRC's self-developed flight navigation control, thrust magnitude, and thrust vector control system, and is analyzed after the flight to see if its actual trajectory is the same as what was planned. Deputy Director Wei further explained that the HTTP-3A is the world's first hybrid-propellant rocket with guidance and control technology, and although it does not fly high, it is still a major technological breakthrough.
ARRC would like to give special thanks to MOST for providing three years of funding to support the rocket development project, as well as NARLabs' National Space Organization (NSPO) for providing a GPS receiver, an important element in the guidance and control system, as well as assisting in the coordination and logistical support of the launch site, which enabled the launch team to carry out the mission smoothly. Deputy Director Wei emphasized that this step was one everyone took together.
Minister Wu stated that in the face of the emerging global space industry, now is the best time for Taiwan to integrate the worlds of academia, research, and industry and invest in space-related niche industries. MOST designated Mudan Bay in Xuhai Village of Mudan Township, Pingtung County as a short-term research launch site to provide legal and safe facilities for space research teams to use. MOST will also continue to guide the space center, which will soon be established as a non-departmental public body, to make proper use of the launch site, actively enhance Taiwan's space technology capabilities, make progress in space technology, and breed talent so that Taiwan can play an important role in the global space industry.