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February 25th, 2013
Singapore Targets Satellite and Space Technology Industry

Beyond satellite development, Singapore also has a strong base of communications equipment manufacturers such as iDirect, Addvalue Technologies and Amplus Communication supplying to leading satellite-based services providers. Some of these companies are looking to develop satellite components and are engaging partners in this area.

Satellite remote sensing applications

Today, major global players such as DigitalGlobe and Spot Image have established a presence in Singapore to distribute images and manage their regional businesses.

In addition, the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing (CRISP) is involved in conducting research in areas like Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), and multi and hyper-spectral data analysis. Its expertise is applied in areas such as urban planning, maritime and coastal observation, climate-change studies, disaster monitoring and agriculture.

Satellite communication services

Singapore is also home to a number of satellite operators and communication service providers who manage their regional businesses from Singapore. Major players include Inmarsat, Thuraya, Intelsat, SES and SingTel. Companies in this segment leverage on Singapore’s strengths in the infocomm, maritime and aerospace industry, and geographical location on major shipping and airline routes to support their businesses and innovation initiatives.

Beyond satellites technology and services

Space continues to present many exciting and new opportunities. Advancements in technologies have made suborbital flight increasingly viable and could potentially revolutionise the future of aviation and space travel.

Europe’s largest space company, EADS Astrium, has partnered Singapore-based companies and agencies to work towards the realisation of its suborbital spaceplane program.


Estimated to be worth about US$290 billion in 2011, the global space industry presents many exciting opportunities and demonstrates potential for growth. Countries and companies looking to realise its space ambitions are constantly on the lookout for locations with conducive business and research environments. 

Developing niche and innovative solutions in a cost efficient manner through complementary R&D partnerships

Emerging space countries and companies looking to develop space technologies and build relevant expertise may find it a challenge to overcome technology barriers. Such players are always on the lookout for partners to jump-start their research.

In addition, established space agencies and companies looking to stay ahead of the game are also on the constant look-out for complementary expertise to develop niche and innovative solutions in a cost efficient manner.

In this context, space agencies and companies looking to develop space technologies, particularly in the area of satellites, can tap on Singapore’s existing strengths in research and development.

Satellite Components
Space-based equipment manufacturers looking to develop satellite components, sensor systems and materials could work with Singapore’s public research institutes. For example Singapore’s research institutes such as the Data Storage Institute (DSI) and Institute of Microelectronics (IME), have good expertise in memory systems, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and power amplifiers.  Companies can work with DSI and IME to develop MEMS based non-volatile memory systems or high-frequency power amplifiers for space.

Satellite Integration
Other than commercial satellite integrators such as ST Electronics (Satellite Systems), space agencies and companies looking to develop small satellites can also work with Singapore’s universities.

Today, both the Nanyang Technology University and National University of Singapore run micro and nano-satellites development programmes. Research areas include formation flying, altitude and propulsion sub-systems and selective critical redundancies development.

Satellite-based Services
As more intelligent satellite-based services continue to be developed, companies recognise the importance of managing, processing and analysing huge amounts of data. Space agencies and companies looking to manage and interpret their data could work with key research institutes in Singapore.

For example, Singapore’s Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing (CRISP) has been conducting SAR, and multi and hyper-spectral data analysis. Other research institutes with expertise in application developments in signal processing and data management and analytics include the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) as well as the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC).

Building commercial expertise to turn Ideas into reality

The development of space technologies without attempts to alleviate cost and exploit commercial potential may hinder the long-term sustainability of space agencies and companies. Space agencies and companies looking to build their space commercial initiatives can do so from Singapore.

Space agencies and companies looking to gain access to the global and Asian’s space markets, capabilities and infrastructure can leverage Singapore’s excellent connectivity and stable geopolitical environment. This opens up a myriad of opportunities to develop satellites and satellite applications for the growing space market.

In order to successfully develop, test bed and commercialise satellite solutions, companies need an ecosystem of commercial, research and government entities that are open to collaborate.  Companies can tap on Singapore’s growing ecosystem to enable the development, test bedding and commercialisation of satellite solutions. This could be in the use of remote sensing for disaster management, mineral exploration and precision farming or use of satellite-based communication to enable maritime and aerospace communication. 

With space projects being potentially capital intensive, financial support is also critical to help space agencies and companies see through its space initiative. In this regard, space agencies and companies looking to better its success and financial support can leverage Singapore’s position as a key financial hub in Asia and tax efficient environment to finance their projects.

Learn more about Singapore technology sectors here.