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Singapore sets her eyes on the sky and beyond

Zafar Anjum | Feb. 22, 2013
The tiny country is taking a giant leap: announces plans to develop satellite and space technology industry

space tech

Singapore has long been an aviation hub in Asia and now the city state has set her eyes on space.

The Singapore government yesterday announced its plan to develop a satellite and space technology industry in the country. According to a government report, the global space industry is estimated to be worth about US$290 billion in 2011 and it presents many exciting opportunities and demonstrates potential for growth.

The announcement to set up an inter-agency office to oversee the development of Singapore's local space industry came from Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran on Thursday (21 February). The country is creating the Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTIn), an inter-agency office to oversee the development of its local space industry, he said.

Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB), along with other participating ministries and agencies such as the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI),  and the National Research Foundation (NRF) will be leading the office (OSTIn).

This is not an abrupt development. Singapore became the first Southeast Asian country to successfully deploy its indigenous satellite in 2011. This satellite was designed and developed by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). ST Electronics (Satellite Systems) commercialised this capability and designed, developed and produced advanced remote sensing satellites.

Moreover, according to EDB, Singapore also has a strong base of communications equipment manufacturers and capacities beyond satellite development. For example, companies such as iDirect, Addvalue Technologies and Amplus Communication supply to leading satellite-based services providers. Some of these companies are looking to develop satellite components and are engaging partners in this area, said EDB in a statement early this month.

The role of OSTIn

Speaking at the Global Space Technology Convention, Iswaran said the inter-agency office will plan and execute economic strategies to drive the growth of the local space industry and work with industry stakeholders to grow their satellite business.

"We believe Singapore will become a compelling location for satellite-related companies to grow their businesses, develop their technologies and export new solutions to the world," Iswaran said. "In view of the growing competition, many satellite companies are now looking to develop expertise that will enable them to maintain their competitive edge while finding new growth and market opportunities. In this context, these companies will be able to tap on Singapore's strengths in adjacent industries, as well as our market connectivity, geo-political neutrality, pro-business environment, and R&D infrastructure to bring their business and innovation initiatives to fruition."


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