Speech by Guest-Of-Honour Ms Indranee Thrurai Rajah, Second Minister for Education at the Singapore Space Challenge 2018/19 Awards Ceremony, at the St. Regis Singapore

Published Date: 15 February 2019 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Professor Lui Pao Chuen, Chairman, Singapore Space & Technology Association Advisory Board

Mr Jonathan Hung, President, Singapore Space & Technology Association

Ladies and Gentlemen, Students and Mentors

Good evening.

Introduction

1. I am very happy to join all of you here today at the 11th Singapore Space Challenge awards ceremony to recognise and celebrate the spark of innovation in our students. A big thank you also to the Singapore Space & Technology Association or SSTA in short, for giving these students an avenue to showcase their creativity in tackling real-world problems, and to the mentors who have guided and inspired many of the students in this journey.

2. I’m happy to note that this SSC is popular amongst school students. I understand that 41 teams, including 9 international ones, comprising students between the ages of 14 and 25 have taken part in this competition. It is heartening to see that our youth is keen to challenge themselves at a young age!

Preparing our younger generation for the future space industry

3. Space has always captured the imagination of people with films like Star Wars capitalising on the almost-universal fascination with space and our aspirations. We have also seen many breakthroughs in space technology, and a recent game changer in this industry has been the growing use of miniature satellites. In fact, our modern lives rely heavily on satellites – the GPS, our phone and our power networks.

4. The space industry holds a lot of potential for youths looking for a challenging and unique career. This is one of those truly multi-disciplinary industries, involving disciplines as varied as botany, law and policy-making. It holds a lot of possibilities to inspire our youth to dream big, to accomplish feats that were once considered impossible.

5. The Singapore Space Challenge is an excellent platform to give our young people a glimpse into the intriguing world of the space industry. They get to learn about new technologies in this sector, how the data can be applied to help us solve present and future challenges and how technological breakthroughs can be integrated seamlessly into our digital lives. Moving forward, the potential for tapping on space technology applications to improve the way we live, work, and play is enormous.

6. SSTA’s efforts to encourage students to pursue their interest in space technology has been well received. They have created and hosted challenges and activities like novel engineering challenges, overseas and local mentorships with space sector experts, industry visits and workshops – all these are opportunities for our youth to experience the space sector. I hope that through SSTA’s efforts, our young Singaporeans will be motivated to pursue careers that will take them to the frontier of innovation, in the space industry and beyond.

Working with international partners to expand opportunities for Singapore youth

7. SSTA has also been partnering international organisations to create and bring programmes in space technology and innovation to Singapore. It is through these opportunities that our students gain valuable experience. In the past two years, our students have participated in competitions held in Toulouse and Japan. In Toulouse, our Singapore team did us proud by emerging as one of the five finalists, amongst teams from 35 countries and clinching the Airbus Innovation Prize. SSTA continued its work with JAXA, Japan’s Space Agency, where a group of Singapore students had the opportunity to visit the Tsukuba Space Centre as part of the “Asian Try Zero-G” programme and witnessed the space experiment that they designed being carried out on-board the International Space Station.

8. Opportunities to work with real-life applications are extremely valuable to students. I am delighted to hear that, for the second year running, SSTA partnered Airbus to design the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Challenge. In addition to a smart application, this year’s challenge included an option of creating a prototype to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of HADR operations. Through the experience, participants not only learnt to appreciate the potential of satellite applications but were inspired to take with them the spirit of innovation beyond the HADR Challenge into their everyday life.

Conclusion

9. The space sector in Singapore has become increasingly vibrant, and we look forward to more exciting developments. I want to thank SSTA once again for your continued contribution to the advancement of Singapore’s space industry.

10. To all participants, congratulations on a job well done, and I hope that you continue to carry this passion and dedication as you take on more challenges. Remember, the sky is no longer the limit. Wishing everyone an enjoyable time this evening. Thank you.

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