SINGAPORE: A year after the completion and launch of the first made-in-Singapore commercial Earth observation satellite, TeLEOS-1, ST Electronics is poised to build a second one, it announced on Thursday (Feb 23).
TeLEOS-2, which will be developed in partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), will enhance the homegrown firm's commercial satellite imagery services by providing better capabilities and functions, it said in a press release.
For instance, the 400kg TeLEOS-1 has an electro-optical payload that provides up to six daylight imaging opportunities daily along the equatorial belt.
The new satellite, on the other hand, will provide round-the-clock, all-weather imaging opportunities.
The satellite will also be able to penetrate thick cloud cover, ST Engineering's president and CEO, Vincent Chong, said.
The 750kg satellite will carry a made-in-Singapore radar system capable of providing high-resolution satellite imagery. It will also be equipped with a 500GB onboard recorder for recording the data captured and a high-speed 800Mbps connection to the ground.
Speaking at the ninth edition of the Global Space and Technology Convention where the new satellite project was announced, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said it would open up possibilities for a wider range of satellite data applications.
For instance, DSTA will use the satellite to support agencies such as the Home Affairs Ministry, Defence Ministry and the National Environment Agency.
The imagery can be used in areas like hotspot monitoring and haze management; oil spill management; air crash search and rescue operations; peacekeeping and humanitarian aid and disaster relief; and maritime security, according to ST Electronics.
The development of TeLEOS-2 comes as the global Earth observation segment continues to grow. Mr Chong said: “Given the relative young age of our space eco-system and to better leverage our expertise gained from TeLEOS-1 and soon TeLEOS-2, we will now focus on the small EO (Earth observation) satellites which are less than one tonne in mass, as well as on high value-added geospatial services. This lays the foundation for us to develop more advanced satellites and services in the future.”
Mr Iswaran added that to better support innovation in the space industry, the Government would refine its approach to ensure greater alignment with industry and deepen capabilities within public sector research performers.
"Moving forward, Singapore will continue to invest in small satellite research and development, but channel our resources to build deep and differentiated capabilities in a few selected areas," the minister said.
The Office for Space and Technology (OSTin), which comes under the auspices of the Economic Development Board (EDB), will work with various technology stakeholders to identify technology areas and establish national satellite R&D programmes, said Mr Iswaran.
300 NEW JOBS OVER THE NEXT 5 YEARS
Mr Iswaran also said that Singapore’s growing space industry is expected to add 300 jobs in the satellite industry over the next five years, according to numbers from EDB.
Currently, there are around 30 companies in Singapore creating high-value jobs for more than 1,000 professionals, including more than 150 researchers.
To help grow the pipeline of talent for the industry, the Singapore Space and Technology Association (SSTA) is also working with regional partners like the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
SSTA's president, Jonathan Hung, said the association is also in discussions with the Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN), to deepen joint exchange programmes and facilitate dialogue within institutes of higher learning.