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Technology meeting on space technology

On 6 March 2015, the ECCT's Technology committee hosted a lunch meeting with guest speaker Jordan Vannitsen, Aeronautical and Space Systems Engineer, to discuss opportunities for cooperation between Taiwan and Europe in autonomous satellite navigation and future opportunities related to space exploration in Taiwan. The speaker gave a presentation which covered some of the research he is involved in at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) and future opportunities for R&D and technology cooperation between Europe and Taiwan in satellite technology. He highlighted the fact that there are great opportunities for collaboration between the EU and Taiwan in developing global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) technologies.

Autonomous satellite navigation will become increasingly important given the large proliferation of satellites in space, many of them small and designed for specific purposes. Autonomous navigation will enable changing course to avoid collisions or for other objectives. Being autonomous enables navigational changes in real-time without the need for control from the ground. The technology is still in the development phase.

In December 2014, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in autonomous satellite navigation research (especially for nanosatellites) was signed between NCKU and Paris Observatory/ESEP (the most important network of space laboratories in Europe). The two parties are now cooperating in research and development, drawing on expertise from Europe and Taiwan.

The National Space Organization of Taiwan has recently developed the first space-grade GPS receiver in Taiwan. Autonomous navigation can be used not only for satellites but also for other applications such as drones and cars.

The "space to ground" aspect (applying space technology for other businesses on the ground) is important in Taiwan and satellite navigation is an important theme currently being covered by the GNSS.asia programme, which has a Taiwan chapter run by the ECCT. GNSS.asia, financed under Horizon 2020, the EU's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, has the objective to develop and implement GNSS industrial cooperation activities between the GNSS industry in Europe and Asia-Pacific, focusing on the downstream sector (applications and receivers). Industrial collaboration in the international context of the GNSS downstream sector is becoming increasingly important, as Galileo moves towards operational readiness and services oriented towards global applications are being tested. To facilitate industrial cooperation between Europe and Asia-Pacific, GNSS.asia provides a comprehensive range of free-of-charge, hands-on support services.

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