Lianhe Zaobao, 8 June, 2021
Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean: Calls on the development of the local space industry
The space industry’s developments have been unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic. On the contrary, several government have used technologies such as global satellite navigation systems to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic. Mr Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister of State and National Security Coordination, urges Singapore to further promote the development of the local space industry through innovation, enhanced capabilities and cooperation.
In his spech at the opening ceremony of the Global Space and Technology Convention (GSTC) yesterday, Mr Teo said that although the epidemic affects all parts of the world, it has not halted the developments of the space industry. The total investment last year even hit a new high. Governments of various countries have also used relevant solutions to overcome the challenges brought by the epidemic. .
In his opening address, he listed the example of the usage of satellite communication to promote telemedicine, working and studying from home, and how it has also allowed family and friends to keep in touch. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) applications have also assisted some governments in taking quick actions to control the epidemic and protect lives.”
Mr Teo also said that although Singapore’s space ecosystem has a shorter history compared to other countries’, it is booming. We have witnessed the launch of many start-up companies in the past year, including Bifrost, which uses synthetic data to assist artificial intelligence developers in simulation tests; Zero-Error Systems, an electronics company which manufactures radiation resistance microchip, successfully raised 2.5 million in seed funding in October last year.
The space industry has endless possibilities, but it is not exclusive to the big countries, small countries also have many development opportunities.
Mr Teo therefore urges Singapore to promote the development of the local space industry through innovation, enhanced capabilities and cooperation.
First, Singapore must cultivate an active ecosystem in order to continue to innovate. “In addition to large players, we can also cultivate potential small players and start-up companies, and help them develop and grow into internationally competitive companies.”
Next, since the space industry involves highly advanced engineering and technology, Mr Teo suggests investing more resources in research and development, and talents to enhance Singapore’s strength.
In addition to the recent call for proposals, industry professionals are invited to submit space technology solutions that support aviation, maritime, climate studies, etc. Some institutions and universities are also actively training space scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs. They are also giving students and young professionals more opportunities to get in touch with space technology. “We hope to inspire the next generation to realise their space dreams.”
Mr Teo called on the government, the state, research institutions and universities to work together to increase collective knowledge and create new opportunities for more people.
“We must work together to create an innovative space ecosystem, build deep technology and strong partnerships in order to promote the development of the space industry and pursue our dreams.”
Yesterday’s event attracted representatives from nearly 30 countries to discuss the growth of the space sector in the Asia-Pacific region.
Colin Low, Chief Executive of the Singapore Land Authority, mentioned that GNSS can promote the development of unmanned driving. However, with the increased use of this technology, cyber hacking may interrupt signals to affect workflow or application operations.
He shared that SLA is currently working with Nanyang Technological University to develop a new system that will allow users to detect these hacks through applications connected to the Singapore Satellite Positioning Reference Network (SiReNT). The new system is estimated to be put into operation by the end of next year.
The organiser of the event, Singapore Space and Technology Ltd, shares that the “Space Accelerator Programme” launched by SSTL has so far supported 30 start-up companies in 14 countries.
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