Taipei: Taiwan conducted a successful test launch of the first home-grown HTTP-3A sounding rocket, which could be used to carry miniature communications satellites into orbit, media reported on Sunday.
According to the Central News Agency (CNA), the launch of the rocket, designed by the Advanced Rocket Research Center (ARRC), took place on July 10 at 06:12 (22:12 GMT, Saturday) from a launch site in Pingtung’s Mudan Township, located in the southern part of Taiwan.
Under the initial flight plan, the rocket was expected to reach a top altitude of 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) during an 8-10 minute flight. However, during the test launch, it stayed in the air for two minutes, reaching an altitude of three kilometers.
Despite the low altitude, the test demonstrated a “major technological breakthrough,” the ARRC was quoted as saying by the CNA.
The ARRC added that the launch was a test of the second-stage rocket, while the test of the first-stage rocket, as well as the separation mechanism, could take place early next year.
HTTP is a sounding rocket that can carry scientific equipment. It is named after the four cities in which the cooperative universities of the ARRC are located — Hsinchu, Taipei, Tainan, and Pingtung. The chairman of the ARRC, Professor Jong-Shinn Wu, associated the HTTP rocket with the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, saying that the possibilities of the rocket could be unlimited, similar to the internet.