Doubling down on space: Significant partnerships inked at Global Space & Technology Convention 2022
Asia’s most important space and technology convention, the Global Space and Technology Convention (GSTC), kicks off today, bringing together over 1,000 thought leaders, industry insiders and investors across 30 countries and regions. The space industry’s cornerstone event held annually since 2008, GSTC is led by Singapore Space and Technology Limited (SSTL).
‘Future World. Endless Possibilities.’ – the theme for GSTC 2022 – sees the industry come together to ink partnerships, deepen cross-border collaborations and drive discussions on industry-shaping themes that will make space a key building block for the future – across economy, education and the planet.
The global space industry is estimated to reach US$1 trn by 20401, and Asia is expected to be the fastest-growing region across multiple segments from spacecraft2 to small satellites3. Against this backdrop, it is timely that the industry is coming together to look at how space can accelerate economic recovery and growth; speed up innovation to tackle climate change and earth conversation challenges; and integrate space into education to prepare the talent pipeline for a world where space is ubiquitous.
“Super-charged connectivity and digitalisation brought on by COVID-19; COP26 cementing our global commitment to the planet and highlighting the importance of earth observation; increased innovation in space travel for civilians – these factors have all converged to boost the importance and relevance of the space industry to the economy, planet and even our future education agenda. It is time to double down on space with increased investments, high-impact collaborations and a fresh approach to talent development,” said Jonathan Hung, Chairman of Singapore Space and Technology Limited (SSTL).
Space startups are one of the most important pillars of innovation and one of the key announcements at GSTC 2022 is the launch by SSTL of Asia’s first dedicated commercial fund that will deploy investment into early stage space and deep-tech startups.
SSTL runs the Space Accelerator Programme, which kicked off in 2020 with support by Enterprise Singapore (ESG). In under two years, the programme now supports 37 companies from 17 countries from Japan, India and Singapore to the US and Europe, across 5G connectivity, remote sensing technologies, cybersecurity for critical infrastructure and semi-autonomous space robots. The combined valuation of the companies stands at close to US$800 million, with a CAGR of over 60 per cent. A testament of the quality of the startups, over 38 per cent of the portfolio already receiving institutional investment.
“The new fund will help startups in the Space Accelerator Programme scale at warp speed, capitalising on the tremendous attention the industry is getting. In the same way that we have seen a lot of venture capital funds flooding into the technology space, we anticipate this will be mirrored in the space industry because of the heightened relevance and understanding of the sector,” said Jonathan Hung.
GSTC’s highlights this year include a dedicated pavilion hosting the most innovative space tech startups, discussions on space tech’s role in mobility and connectivity for the future by Kymeta and Singapore Land Authority (SLA); advances in cybersecurity by Block Armour; autonomous transportation developments by SLA, ST Engineering and Motional; and earth observation to avoid climate change by France’s National Centre for Space Studies.
Echoing the message of the impact of space across the economy, the planet and our future education agenda, a number of key MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding) and partnerships led by SSTL were inked at the conference.
Space for Our Future Economy
SSTL will ink three key MoUs that will strengthen its role as a space ecosystem builder to connect the industry across Asia and to connect Asia to the world.
SSTL will sign an MoU with UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to facilitate a two-way deal flow of investment and trade between Singapore and UK-based space tech startups. The 360º agreement covers market access, test-bedding, market validation of opportunities, potential investment, research and capability-building.
SSTL will also ink an MoU with Volga-Dnepr Group to provide specialised logistics services for Asia’s space industry to further enhance SSTL’s range of services to support the space industry end-to-end.
SSTL will also continue its long-standing partnership with Singapore Land Authority with another MoU to accelerate the adoption of space and satellite technology through collaborations across industry and community. The two-pronged MoU with SLA will deepen innovation in satellite positioning, earth observation and related areas at the industry and community levels.
“To make space more ubiquitous means exponentially increasing the connection points within the space industry, between space and other industries, across borders and into our communities. These MoUs are significant because they touch on each of these strategic pillars that will help Asia take an important share of that anticipated US$1 trn industry potential,” said Lynette Tan, CEO of SSTL.
Space for Our Future Planet
SSTL and Changi Regional HADR Coordination Centre (RHCC) are launching Asia’s first feasibility study to leverage advanced space technology to predict natural disasters. In 2019, an estimated US$86.5 billion were lost to natural disasters in Southeast Asia4. The joint study between SSTL and RHCC will go a long way towards stemming the heavy burden that natural disasters place on local economies.
Space for Our Future Education
Space Faculty, the region’s first end-to-end space education specialist for anyone from 5 to 95 years old, is a spin-off from SSTL. Bringing together leading space experts and industry influencers around the world to design space learning and development programmes, Space Faculty is aimed at building out the space industry’s talent pipeline, working with governments, other NGOs, the private sector and the community.
As part of Space Faculty’s launch, it will announce three strategic initiatives that will drive the space education agenda from seeding early interest to building industry-ready professionals. Space Faculty partners with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to spearhead the introduction of space education and job opportunities for students of local Institutes of Higher Learning, helping them identify areas where their skills are demand in the space industry.
“For a long time, the space industry focused on cultivating talent among a narrow band of individuals – mostly starting at the tertiary level. Space is going to be ubiquitous – it is going to be a part of our everyday life – and not just in the background, so we need to build passion, interest and skills from 5 to 95,” said Lynette Tan, Founder of Space Faculty and CEO of SSTL.