29 May 1999
News - Vehicles (Good)
Taiwan invests in Kistler Aerospace
Industrial Bank of Taiwan invests $8 million, others to follow
by Peter Wainwright
Kistler Aerospace is the recipient of an $8 million investment by the Industrial Bank of Taiwan, one of seven banks approved by the Taiwanese finance ministry to invest a total of $50 million in a move to develop advanced space technology generally.

Kistler's K-1 vehicle, a low cost reusable launch vehicle for taking satellites into space at a fraction of current costs, has had its first test flight delayed by as much as a year due to financial constraints, but with new funding the launch is now expected to be back on track.

Although not designed to carry passengers into orbit, the K-1 none the less has the potential to seriously upset the current status quo of launch vehicle companies, whose expensive and non-reusable launch systems have been suffering a particularly bad series of costly failures in recent months.

This news is a strong reminder that the race for cheap reusable spaceflight is a global one, and one that does not involve any government space agency. Other countries that think they invest wisely in space technology would do well to take note of this and think hard and short, before someone else does their thinking for them. - SFJ
Source: China Times, Daily Telegraph, 20th May

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Peter Wainwright 29 May 1999
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