Singapore well placed for satellite-launching business

As locally made satellite TeLEOS-1 orbits Earth, it raises the question of why we had to use a foreign booster rocket and are not in the satellite-launching business ourselves ("Lauded for taking S'pore to space"; Oct 19).

Space exploration has been identified as the next frontier.

A corollary of this is the satellite-launching industry, which is worth billions of dollars. The spin-off is thousands of high-skill jobs.

Skills are readily available and accessible, but not many countries have an ecosystem of world-class universities, top-notch researchers, high-tech industries and a First World economy such as ours.

Herein lies our comparative advantage.

Being near the equator also makes Singapore an ideal location for a space port.

A southern island can be developed for this.

This will not be the first time Singapore embarks on an enterprise for which it has no previous experience.

Our much-celebrated economic success is characterised by a gumption to venture into new frontiers, such as shipbuilding, oil exploration, semi-conductors, aerospace and desalination.

It was this sense of crisis and zeal that drove us to overcome the adversities of Third World nations.

Today, some of our companies, such as Keppel Corporation and Hyflux, are even world leaders.

We now face a slowing economy.

What is needed is the courage to break into new frontiers of achievement, such as making Singapore a key satellite-launching hub.

Tan Yip Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore well placed for satellite-launching business'. Print Edition | Subscribe