Space technology is crucial in advancing social well- being and sustainable growth as part of the world’s expanding digitalisation transition. Space technologies have the potential to bridge the digital divide, monitor climate change, weather patterns, and the use of natural resources, as well as create new economic opportunities.
In recent years, the space industry has been gaining momentum and expanding beyond the traditional spacefaring nations as more people are seeing the potential benefits of investing in space exploration and technology. Private and public entities from emerging spacefaring nations have recently increased in number as actors engaged in space activities.
In this respect, The Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development (OECD) released a report titled “Space Economy – For People, Planet & Prosperity”. The report served as discussion material at the Space Economy Leaders Meeting, where the aim is to improve the measurement of the space economy and its broader impacts.
India launched its National Space Policy in April this year. The space policy further enhances the growth of the Indian space sector by providing the private sector with a platform to actively contribute to augmenting the development and competitiveness of the Indian space industry. The World Economic Forum reported that in 2022 alone, 47 startups were incorporated in India’s space sector. The expansion of India’s space sector led to the establishment of a successful launch programme. India has accomplished this by combining government investment, partnerships with established space agencies, and a supportive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Another example is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has made significant investments in its space programme and has formed alliances with several countries and companies to support its development. In order to encourage the development of its space industry, the country has also formed a national space agency and a number of initiatives in the field. The UAE has ambitious plans for space exploration, including building the first settlement on Mars by 2117.
Is Malaysia motivated to grow its space industry?
Stakeholder conversations revealed this to be true. While it may seem like a daunting challenge for countries with limited resources like Malaysia to embark on the space sector, our conversations with various parties highlighted several strategies that can be employed to help build a robust space industry.
The need to establish a solid scientific and technical knowledge foundation is commonly highlighted. Investment in education and training programmes is crucial to ensure the availability of the skilled workforce required to support the space industry. This can be achieved by establishing partnerships with other countries or by creating our own specialised universities and research centres.
Next is investment in the necessary infrastructure and resources. This includes the construction of launch sites, the development of satellites, and the establishment of ground control stations. This could be accomplished by forming partnerships with reputable space agencies or companies to facilitate infrastructure construction and leveraging existing technologies and resources to reduce costs and maximise efficiency.
Another crucial factor in establishing a space business, emphasised by the people we spoke with, is fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in the space sector. The government could provide incentives for private companies to invest in space technology and exploration. This includes tax breaks, funding opportunities, and other incentives that encourage private investment. Creating a supportive environment for innovation and entrepreneurship can attract new businesses and encourage growth in the space industry.
Collaboration and partnership are also seen as critical for the development of the space industry. Sharing resources, knowledge, and expertise would be made possible by collaborating with other emerging countries and existing space agencies. Additionally, collaboration can increase efficiency and cut costs. Finally, stakeholders agree that there is a need for a long-term vision for Malaysia’s space industry. This entails establishing clear goals and objectives for our space programme as well as developing a roadmap for achieving those goals. In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of our space industry, we must devise plans for preserving and improving its resources and infrastructure over time.
With the right strategies and investments, we can build a robust space industry that will provide economic, scientific, and technological benefits for generations to come.
On another note, a national space industry offers inspirational and cultural significance. The space industry’s growth can also improve a country’s international reputation and strengthen its national pride and identity. We have observed how space exploration has captured the imagination of people worldwide and inspired generations to seek careers in science and technology.
In this current edition, we have prepared a number of insights and viewpoints on the Malaysian space industry and advanced air mobility. I hope that the information presented in this magazine remains interesting to you and adds value to the work you undertake. We welcome any content contributions in the form of viewpoints or insights you would like to share. Of course, comments are also encouraged. Do reach out to us.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these matters.
As we aspire to develop the space industry in Malaysia, I’ll leave you with this quote.