Ladies and Gentlemen,
1 It is my pleasure to join all of you at this year’s Global Space Technology Convention (GSTC), which is now into its sixth successful run. I am heartened to see such a good turnout from the space community this morning.
Good progress made in developing Singapore’s space industry
2 At last year’s convention, I had shared with you the establishment of the Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTIn), to drive and promote the growth of Singapore’s space industry. This was in recognition of the industry’s growth potential, and its ability to create attractive jobs for our increasingly educated workforce.
3 In support of efforts to develop and grow Singapore’s space industry, the Government had also announced the establishment of a $90 million Satellite Industry Development Fund at Budget 2013. This fund supports industry development efforts, and public-private partnerships in R&D, to build up our satellite capabilities.
4 Since then, we have witnessed encouraging progress in Singapore’s space industry. 2013 saw Singapore becoming a partner for companies to grow their satellite businesses, develop technologies, and export new solutions to the world.
5 In particular, I am heartened by the progress of Singapore companies, in adjacent sectors such as precision engineering, electronics and info communications, who have begun to leverage on their existing capabilities to develop innovative space-based solutions.
6 Addvalue Technologies, a local medium-sized enterprise, is one good example. With OSTIn’s support, it is building on its expertise in radio-frequency technologies to develop a satellite-based terminal that enables data transfer between satellites in the low earth (LEO) and geo-stationary (GEO) orbits. This innovation could allow for a more efficient use of ground networks, and enable timely access to a greater amount of data. Building on such exciting projects, OSTIn will continue to work with our local industry players to enhance their expertise and capabilities to deliver satellite technologies.
7 As the local space industry develops, there will be more opportunities for international companies to work with local players to co-develop satellite solutions, and to access growth markets. Alliant Techsystems (ATK), a US multinational with strong capabilities in space, and ST Electronics, have recently signed an agreement to jointly develop and market a new class of small satellite buses. By harnessing each other’s complementary technical strengths and business networks, ATK and ST Electronics are well-positioned to seize opportunities in the emerging small satellite market segment. I understand that the two companies will be making further announcements on this later today. This partnership bears testament not only to our technical strengths, but also Singapore’s favourable location for business growth and market connectivity.
Public research organisations’ efforts towards supporting the growth of the local satellite industry
8 To further support the growth of our space industry, we have also taken steps to strengthen our public R&D capabilities and talent development efforts. The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have each established satellite programmes that will develop remote sensing satellite technologies and together train about 40 new undergraduates annually. Last November, the NTU Satellite Research Centre developed and launched Singapore’s first nano-satellite, the Velox-P. This undergraduate student-led project saw 60 students working over 3 years to develop essential components of the satellite, such as fault tolerant power systems, attitude determination and control algorithms.
9 Early last year, with the support of OSTIn, NUS and NTU also started development efforts on a 50kg hyper-spectral satellite, and 100kg weather monitoring satellite, respectively. These projects will serve to enhance our public sector capabilities in satellite integration. I am pleased to note that the universities are on track to launch these satellites in 2015. NUS has completed its preliminary design review for its satellite, and will be undergoing the critical design review by the end of this month. Meanwhile, NTU has already tested its payload and is looking to integrate its satellite in March. I believe the universities would be happy to share more in the course of this convention, at their exhibition booths.
10 Last July, OSTIn also launched an open R&D grant call under the Satellite Industry Development Fund to seek out new technologies that Singapore could develop into satellite products and services. This first edition of a series of grant calls saw an enthusiastic response from the public research community, with 42 proposals submitted and 11 projects supported with a total budget of close to S$12 million.
11 One of the supported projects aims to develop a compact travelling wave tube amplifier that could allow satellite makers to reduce satellite weight and size, hence reducing launch costs. Another interesting project aims to automate the mining of satellite images for geo-spatial information, raising companies’ efficiency in analysing images for applications such as change detection and digital map updating.
12 OSTIn will continue to use such grant calls through the Satellite Industry Development Fund to prime the development of technologies that address the business and innovation needs of companies to enhance their competitiveness in the global satellite market.
Singapore will continue its efforts to build international linkages
13 Alongside its efforts on the R&D and industry development fronts, OSTIn will continue to build partnerships with international space agencies and government bodies to foster innovation and thought leadership.
14 Just two days ago, OSTIn, together with the UK Space Agency and the British High Commission in Singapore, jointly organised the UK-Singapore Satellite R&D Seminar. This event marked a promising start to the budding partnership between UK and Singapore in this arena, as the researchers and industry players from both countries formed alliances through their common interest in satellite technologies. We will continue to build stronger and closer links with international partners in support of the continued growth of the global satellite industry.
15 We have with us here today representatives from government, industry and academia not just from Singapore, but also guests from as far as the US who have taken the effort to be here and be a part of this conversation. I urge all of you to take advantage of this unique opportunity to network and foster new partnerships, across the international space community.
16 I wish all of you a productive and successful time over the next two days at the Global Space and Technology Convention 2014. Thank you.