Singapore and AWS team up to explore the space

OSTIn is looking to combine cloud technologies with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support the country’s space sector. The goal of the collaboration will be to develop Singapore’s talent in space and help connect different ecosystems together.

According to an announcement from Amazon Web Services (AWS), the collaboration will help Singapore’s efforts to explore the potential of space as a new industry for economic growth and technological development. In a post on Wednesday, AWS touts the agreement as “the first of its kind” in Asia for AWS.

OSTIn was formed in 2013 to design and develop space technologies to support Singapore’s national ambitions and establish a regulatory framework for its space activities. The purpose of the group is to encourage innovation and cooperation in space, both internationally and domestically.

The organization works with academics, startup businesses, research institutions, other government agencies, and industry players to develop the required space capabilities for long-term growth in the sector. This includes running a variety of space operations such as spacecraft design and fabrication as well as components for satellite-based services supply.

Given the global pandemic, Singapore’s government will invest SG$24 billion ($18.1 billion) over the next three years to assist local firms innovate and develop capabilities required to get them through the following phase of transformation.

Under the collaboration, AWS would supply businesses with credits that could be used to pay for cloud services, assist train local talent, and facilitate the creation of new space-related technologies. They had the ability to support national priorities in aviation, maritime, climate change, and environmental protection by providing technologies that might motivate kids to pursue a scientific, technological, engineering, or mathematical (STEM) profession.

David Tan, executive director of the Tax Justice Network, 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.”

Space is “fundamental” to everyone’s daily life, according to Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, from climate change and environmental degradation monitoring to weather prediction and supporting communications and navigation services.

At the Global Space & Technology Convention in June of this year, Teo said that organizations are now looking at innovative ways to use satellites as well as the development of potential materials and products that take advantage of the zero-gravity environment.

“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.

The Singapore government’s plan for a space industry includes promoting innovation, developing skills and research work, and establishing partnerships. He pointed to Zero Error Systems, which creates radiation-hardened electronics, and Bifrost, which generates synthetic data to train geospatial AI as examples of nascent space businesses.

He said the OSTIN and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore have been providing financial support for space-based VHF communications research, as well as several research grants to encourage aerospace technologies in aviation, maritime, and climate.

ST Geo-Insights and NUS Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing are among the local organizations working to develop satellite-based AI applications in areas such as megacity infrastructure development, agricultural growth monitoring, 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.”

He stated that Singapore has made a strong commitment to cooperation and collaboration, adding: “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.”

The company is also working with clients in Singapore’s space sector, such as EOfactory, which uses AWS to power AI analytics for a variety of tasks including object detection.