July 2, 2022

S’pore launches three new satellites into space for security, climate, disaster monitoring

By brit

SINGAPORE – The Republic made further strides in space with the launch of three new satellites for national, research and commercial uses on Thursday (June 30).

The two larger satellites – developed by government agencies and firms – will act as eyes on the region for various uses such as enhancing maritime security, detecting oil spills and monitoring disasters for humanitarian aid.

The third and smallest among them, a 3.1kg nanosatellite, was designed and built by more than 50 students from Nanyang Technological University (NTU). This research satellite will remain in space for six months to test new technologies.

On Thursday, a 44m-tall rocket carrying the three satellites lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in South India after 6pm (8.30pm Singapore time).

The satellites were released into orbit about 570km above Earth a little after 8.50pm Singapore time.

Thursday’s launch brings the total number of Singapore satellites to 19, since the first one was sent up in 2011. Most were research satellites.

Mr David Tan, executive director of Singapore’s space office, the Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTIn), said: “We are committed to supporting the development of local capabilities in space-based technologies to ensure that Singapore can effectively harness these technologies to serve national needs in domains such as aviation, maritime, climate and sustainability.”

The second-largest of the three new satellites is the first locally developed satellite with a radar technology that can capture images in the night and in poor weather.

This NeuSAR satellite is equipped with synthetic aperture radar that sends radio waves to the Earth’s surface and collects the returns to form images.

The 160kg satellite can thus penetrate darkness, thick clouds, haze and volcanic ash, unlike those that use optical cameras.

NeuSAR’s development was led by DSO National Laboratories, Singapore’s defence research and development organisation.