Singapore's leap into the space industry

Satellites that transmit weather data and television programmes and help people find their way with GPS could one day be made in Singapore, and the data analysed here too.

Singapore is taking formal steps to build its space-satellite industry by setting up the Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTin). This is an Economic Development Board programme that comprises multiple Government agencies.

The new office was announced by Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran at the annual Global Space Technology Convention on Thursday.

Space, he said, attracts the interest of science and engineering students. And the industry's growth will spill over to other fields like precision engineering and electronics.

"In Singapore, we too have good reasons to be excited by the promising potential the space industry has for our economy," he said.

In 2011, the global space economy was worth US$290 billion (S$358.66 billion) and grew 12.2 per cent from the year before. That was largely driven by the growth of the global satellite industry, which was worth US$177 billion (S$218.9 billion) in 2011.

The nascent industry here will focus on manufacturing small satellites weighing less than a tonne that have commercial applications, as well as a chain of other activities that includes receiving, processing and analysing satellite data, said Mr Gian Yi-Hsen, director of the new office.

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