Malaysia has launched its SpaceTech ecosystem with the collaboration between The National Tech Association of Malaysia (Pikom), Malaysia Space Agency, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida).
This is the next logical step for Malaysia which has been at the forefront of space technology since the early 2000s with the setting up of specialised agencies to spearhead the nascent industry then.
The effort has enabled Malaysia to develop necessary technical expertise and talents for the SpaceTech ecosystem development. With the boom in private SpaceTech in recent years, Malaysia is in good stead for the next phase of growth.
The SpaceTech landscape has been transformed from single proprietary system to integrated multi-component systems much like the system integration in Information Technology (IT) industry. The computer systems embedding Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, software and robotics are now Frontier Technologies in the SpaceTech landscape.
The IT applications of space technology are wide ranging from internet connectivity, IoT, navigational tracking, disaster management, resource management, governance, meteorology, defence, and security.
It is estimated that the global SpaceTech economy to grow to US$10 trillion by 2030 from US$380 billion in 2020. The space-related investment funding for Asia-Pacific at US$41.7 billion is ranked second after Northern America.
The strategic directions and programs of the initiative will be aligned to the pillars of the National Space Policy 2030 (DAN2030) to contribute at least RM3.2 billion or 0.3 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030 and expected to create 5,000 new jobs.
The launch of the SpaceTech initiative was also attended by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), UITM, UPM and other tech-companies related to space technology and satellite communications.
Pikom is well positioned to drive the SpaceTech development forward as the association has over 1000 corporate members with the capability, technology and talent to work with the industry, government and academia.
Pikom chairman Dr Sean Seah said Malaysia have a good potential for the SpaceTech ecosystem and is the first Asean country to develop such a programme.
“We have been seeing pockets of interest in SpaceTech here and there over the past couple of years, and so, why are we not collaborating and develop the ecosystem together? I believe it is time for us to be unified, invite all the like-minded SpaceTech players in the country and across the world, to come and take part in this mutual goal together.
“At the same time, with the estimated growth potential of US$10 trillion by 2030, the ecosystem players can converge and collaborate with space-related players. The industry needs all parties to work together cohesively to build the SpaceTech ecosystem in Malaysia,” Dr Seah said.
Malaysia is an active member at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and has been championing equitable access on satellite orbit rights through public and private sector participation.
Pikom currently has three members comprising AngkasaX, Celcom and MeaSAT that have been admitted as “ITU-R member” of the ITU, a specialised agency of the United Nations which manages space telecommunications. The members are eligible to apply and secure orbital slots and radio spectrum to launch their satellites.
This country has been involved in the SpaceTech since the launching of satellites MeaSAT 1 and MeaSAT 2 (1996), TiungSAT-1 (2000), MeaSAT 3 (2006) and RazakSat (2009). RazakSat is a “Designed in Malaysia” Earth-Observation Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) satellite that was launched into near-equatorial orbit in 2009 by SpaceX’s Falcon-1 rocket.
“Pikom will become the central voice of the SpaceTech industry based on its expertise in the technology sectors and system-integration expertise which are the backbone of the SpaceTech and satellite engineering. Our members are very excited to see the potential collaboration and see through this growth for Malaysia,” said Dr Seah.