Speech by Minister S Iswaran at the Global Space and Technology Convention 2023

Speech by Minister S Iswaran at the Global Space and Technology Convention 2023

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


1. Good morning. It is my pleasure to join you today at the Global Space and Technology Convention (GSTC) 2023.




2. Singapore recognises the importance of the space ecosystem and has been a steadfast supporter of its development.  One tangible manifestation of our efforts is this GSTC forum itself.  Over the years, it has grown to become a cornerstone of the space industry in the Asia Pacific, and has provided a valuable platform for collaboration and partnerships here in Singapore.


3. Ten years ago, at the GSTC 2013, I announced the formation of the Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTIn), under the Economic Development Board.  Today, OSTIn serves as Singapore’s national space office.  It has been a keystone of Singapore’s efforts in the space sector.  I would like to congratulate OSTIn on its 10th anniversary, and commend its effort as Singapore’s national focal point in space.


Space’s economic value to Singapore


4. In recent years, we have seen significant growth of new technologies, services, and business models in the space sector.  Private investments in space companies, especially from venture capital firms, have grown steadily over the past decade.  The global space industry is valued at over US$400 billion today, and is set to more than double by 2030 to over US$1 trillion.


5. The space industry has also driven broader economic growth.  Here in Singapore, the space industry has created good jobs for skilled workers and high-value economic opportunities for our companies.  Today, about 2,000 professionals and researchers are employed within the space sector, and more than 60 local and international space companies are based in Singapore.


Emerging local space companies


6. Our local companies are also making impressive strides. SpeQtral, a provider of quantum key distribution (QKD) systems, recently embarked on collaborations with overseas companies and space agencies, such as Toshiba and the European Space Agency.  SpeQtral is now working towards the commercialisation of end-to-end space-based QKD services.  Their niche expertise in building highly compact quantum sources is very compatible with CubeSats, which are cheaper and faster to build than traditional satellites.


7. Addvalue Technologies is another local company making waves in the satellite communications market.  I visited Addvalue’s headquarters 6 years ago. At that time, their products were in use by vessels and vehicles, but they had not yet ventured into space.  In the span of 6 years, CEO Khai Pang and his team have captured a segment of the Low Earth Orbit sat-comms space with an Inter-satellite Data Relay System product, providing the world’s first real-time link between satellites.


8. Homegrown companies like SpeQtral and Addvalue have put Singapore on the map in the global space industry, and I wish them every success.


Space as an enabler for key national sectors


9. Beyond economic growth, the space industry is also an enabler for key national sectors like aviation and maritime.  Our aviation hub will benefit from the pioneering use of space-based capabilities to enhance situational awareness.  In June 2022, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and OSTIn signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with two firms, SITA and Startical, to undertake a proof-of-concept on the use of space-based Very High Frequency (VHF) voice comms for communication between pilots and air traffic controllers.


10. Similarly, space technology can help with Singapore’s maritime daily operations.  Space-based solutions will herald the future of connectivity from ship to shore.  Mangata, a leading company in the space sector, is establishing its global maritime HQ in Singapore.  Mangata will establish a systems infrastructure R&D Centre here, which will provide data and continuous feedback for satellite and ground network optimisation.


Importance of ecosystem partnerships between research, private and public entities


11. Singapore’s advances in the space sector to date would not have been possible without local research and industry partners.  In the past year, we have witnessed the launch of three new satellites for various uses, from enhancing maritime security and detecting oil spills, to monitoring disasters for humanitarian aid.


12. One of the three satellites launched is NeuSAR, Singapore’s first commercial high-performance microsatellite with a fully polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). NeuSAR has the capability to produce images both day and night, through clouds and even in poor weather conditions.  This was made possible by close collaboration between the DSO National Laboratories, OSTIn, ST-GeoInsights, as well as various other local and foreign partners.  I am happy to announce that NeuSAR has completed its in-orbit testing and will soon be ready for commercial use.


13. Such results affirm the importance of strong partnerships between our research institutions, and the public and private sectors.  I am especially pleased to announce that OSTIn and Singapore Space & Technology Ltd (SSTL) will be signing an MOU on their continued commitment to collaborate, realise synergies in their capabilities,  and grow the space ecosystem in Singapore.


Growth of multilateral and bilateral partnerships


14. International partnerships are equally important.  Singapore has sought to be an active and constructive member of the international space community.  For example, we contribute to disaster relief and humanitarian efforts.  Both NTU’s Earth Observatory Singapore Remote Sensing (EOS-RS) Lab, and NUS’s Centre for Remote Imaging Sensing and Processing (CRISP), are voluntary members of Sentinel Asia, an initiative to share disaster information in near-real-time across the Asia Pacific.  To support disaster relief efforts for the recent tragic Turkey-Syria earthquake, the NTU lab provided damage proxy maps in partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the European Space Agency (ESA).


15. At the government level, OSTIn participates actively at key multilateral fora such as the G20 Space Economy Leaders Meeting, Artemis Accords and the ASEAN Sub-Committee for Space Technology and Applications.  Singapore and Thailand are also co-leading a project on satellite assembly, integration, and testing facilities.


16.      On the bilateral front, Singapore has also been building fruitful relationships with our international and regional space partners.  In that regard, I am pleased to announce that OSTIn will be signing an MOU with Thailand’s Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) to deepen our partnership with Thailand, as we collaborate on areas such as space policy, industry, and space situational awareness.




17.      As the growth of the global space sector gathers pace, Singapore will endeavour to further contribute to the sector.  In particular, we look forward to growing our space ecosystem, by working in close partnership with all of you from the research, private and public sectors.  I wish you a fruitful time at the GSTC 2023.  Thank you.


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