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Four foreign groups have submitted bids to supply Taiwan’s first satellite, scheduled for launch at the end of 1997, the government’s National Science Council said: the bidders are TRW Inc and Space Systems/Loral of the US, Anglo-French Matra Marconi SA, and a group comprising Israel Aircraft Industries, Germany’s Dornier and France’s Alcatel NV; a preliminary decision is expected in mid-February but there are no details on the contract value; under the $509m Taiwan space programme, Taiwan plans to have three satellites in orbit by 2006; they will be used for both scientific research and communications but details have not been released; Taiwan will hire foreign launchers to send the satellites into orbit.

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