Speeches/Interviews

September 23, 2020

Speech by Ms Gan Siow Huang, Minister of State (Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower), at the Singapore Space Challenge 2020 Award Ceremony

Professor Lui Pao Chuen, Chairman, Singapore Space & Technology Limited Advisory Council,
Mr Jonathan Hung, President, Singapore Space & Technology Limited
Students,
Mentors,
Ladies and gentlemen,

A very good afternoon to all.

Introduction

1. I am delighted to be here today at the 12th Singapore Space Challenge (SSC) Awards Ceremony to recognise and celebrate the hard work and innovative spirit of our youths. To start, I would like to thank the Singapore Space and Technology Limited or SSTL in short, for providing students with this opportunity to showcase their ingenuity in developing solutions to space-related real-world challenges. Special thanks also go to the mentors who have patiently guided and motivated the students on this journey.

2. Last year, the SSC had close to 300 youths, aged 15 to 25, from 75 teams across ten countries taking part in the competition. It is heartening to see our youth take charge of their learning outside of the classroom to push the boundaries of technical and scientific limits and learn with their peers from around the world.

Preparing Youths for a Future in Space

3. Humans have had a strong fascination with space, perhaps due to an innate desire to explore the unknown. Just 70 years ago, much of what mankind has managed to achieve in the realm of space was considered impossible. Today, space technology applications, such as satellite communication, play a significant role in the way we live, work and play. Hailing a ride or ordering a meal to be delivered from your favourite restaurant would not be possible without satellites. The delivery services use mapping data collected from satellite imagery to calculate the exact distance the deliverer needs to travel, the estimated time it will take to reach you, and the cost of the order or ride.

4. Over the years, our education system has sought to encourage a sense of wonder and curiosity in our students through STEM, and develop in our students a strong foundation in Science and Mathematics. We will continue to build on our current strengths and inspire our youths to pursue STEM and push the boundaries of innovation to create a meaningful impact on society.

5. Since its inception, the SSC has served as a platform for youths from various disciplines and education backgrounds to gain first-hand insight into what it is like to be part of the space sector. It aims to nurture crucial dispositions and skills needed for problem-solving through projects. Through industry visits, meet-the-expert sessions, workshops, and their own research, youths learn about new technologies in the development process, how technological breakthroughs are assimilated into our everyday lives, and how to utilise data to tackle current and future issues.

6. Space debris, the topic of this year's challenge, is a rapidly growing concern especially with the increasing awareness of issues such as climate change and sustainability. With the large number of satellites orbiting around Earth, this increases the risk of in-space collisions and explosions. The consequences of space debris impact not just the space industry but the entire world as it could affect how we operate, such as our telecommunications. This year's winning solution from Team Starfleet Command was creatively designed to reduce space debris by removing them from their orbits through the use of reusable components, and thus a sustainable solution that continues to protect the space ecosystem. Well done!

Closing

7. Space is a multi-disciplinary industry. I urge youths, no matter your background, to embrace the challenges and take active steps to find your place in this exciting ecosystem.

8. Once again, I would like to thank SSTL for your continued efforts to develop Singapore's space ecosystem. Your partnership with both local and international organisations has created and brought space technology and exciting innovation programmes to Singapore. We are a small country, but we are very proud of our achievements. I hope that you will continue to spearhead efforts in educating youths in Singapore about space and fuel their interest in it.

9. To all participants, my heartiest congratulations. You have worked hard in the SSC, but this is only the start of your journey. Dream big and pursue your dreams with the same enthusiasm and determination you have exhibited in the course of this challenge. It could be your story that inspires many generations to come.

10. With that, I wish everyone a pleasant afternoon. Thank you.