January 23, 2022

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AWS inks partnership with Singapore to explore space technology

Singapore’s Office for Space Technology & Industry (OSTIn) is looking to tap cloud technologies through...

Singapore’s Office for Space Technology & Industry (OSTIn) is looking to tap cloud technologies through a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and drive the local space sector . The collaboration also will aim to nurture space talent in the country and facilitate collaborations within the local ecosystem. 

Touting the agreement as the “first of its kind” for AWS in Asia, the US cloud vendor said in a post Wednesday the partnership would support Singapore’s efforts to explore the potential of space as a new industry for economic growth and technology development.

Set up in 2013, OSTIn is responsible for the development of space technologies to support national goals and build a regulatory environment for Singapore’s space activities. It works with academia, startups, research institutions, other government agencies, and industry players to develop the necessary space capabilities to drive the industry’s growth. This includes running various space activities such as the design and manufacture of satellites and related components for the provision of satellite-based services. 

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Under the partnership, AWS would provide businesses with credits that could be used to cover the cost of cloud services, help train local talent, and facilitate the development of new technologies in the space industry. Such technologies had the potential to support national priorities in aviation, maritime, climate, and the environment, AWS adding that they could inspire youths to pursue a career in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) sectors.

More information detailing specific initiatives would be revealed early next year, AWS said. 

OSTIn’s executive director David Tan said: “This collaboration with AWS will support the development of Singapore to become a regional hub for space innovation and play a larger role in the global space industry. We look forward to deepening the collaboration with AWS through developing specific programs to make space technologies accessible, to develop space talent for Singapore, and foster collaborations within the space industry locally, regionally, and globally.”

According to Singapore’s Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Teo Chee Hean, space was “central” to everyday lives–from monitoring climate change and environmental degradation to weather prediction and supporting telecommunications and navigation services. 

Organisations now were exploring innovative use of satellites as well as the manufacturing of potential materials and products that tapped the zero-gravity environment, Teo said at the Global Space & Technology Convention in June this year. 

“These developments have shown that space is not just the exclusive domain of bigger countries. Opportunities in space are opening up for all players,” he said.

To support this ecosystem, the Singapore minister underscored the need to facilitate innovation, drive capabilities and research work, and establish partnerships. He said the country’s nascent space industry currently comprised startups such as Zero Error Systems, which develops radiation-hardened electronics, and Bifrost, which generates synthetic data to train geospatial AI. 

The OSTIN and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore also were supporting research on space-based VHF communications, he noted, and several research grants had been called to drive space-based technologies in aviation, maritime, and climate. He added that local organisations such as ST Geo-Insights and NUS Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing were collaborating to develop satellite-based AI applications in areas such as mega infrastructure development, agricultural growth tracking, and climate change.

Teo said: “We hope to inspire a future generation to fulfil their dreams in space. Our agencies and universities are grooming a future pool of space scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, and creating more opportunities for our undergraduates and young professionals to be exposed to cutting-edge space technology.”

Pointing to Singapore’s focus on collaboration, he said: “As a country that has always advocated an open, inclusive, and collaborative international system, we strongly believe international partnerships and dialogue are essential to exploit the benefits of space for all. The ‘New Space’ economy offers tremendous potential, but it also brings new challenges such as space debris and orbital congestion. We need to ensure all parties conduct ourselves in space responsibly and sustainably as space grows in importance for our economies and societies.”

AWS said it currently was working with customers in Singapore’s space industry, including EOfactory, which provides an earth observation insights platform and is tapping AWS to power AI analytics for various functions, such as object detection.

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