Satellite-refuelling robotic arms, personal modular satellites, “mirrors” in space to reflect sunlight to solar arrays to allow them to work at night – these were just some of many innovative ideas presented at the Singapore chapter of the ActinSpace® 2018, a hackathon where participants dared to dream as they took on the final frontier: space!
Organised by the Singapore Space and Technology Association (SSTA), the French Space Agency (CNES), European Space Agency (ESA), and the European GNSS Agency, ActinSpace® is an international hackathon contest spanning over 70 cities and 5 continents, where participants worked on real-life challenges in the space industry, designing innovative services and products using space technologies and data.
Hosted at GeoWorks, Southeast Asia’s first industry centre to promote geospatial innovation and competencies, the Singapore chapter of the global hackathon on 25 and 26 May saw close to 80 participants competing in challenges, brainstorming and coming up with solutions over the course of 24 hours. The pitching session took place the next day, with each group taking turns to pitch their ideas to a judging panel of industry professionals, followed by lively Q&A sessions.
After intense competition, “Insert Space” emerged as the winning team. The team had pitched their idea for the cheaper production of micro-thrusters for CubeSats (miniaturised satellites) as the alternative sustainable solution to the current more expensive process.
Their presentation impressed the judges, which consisted of Prof Liu Pao Chuen, Advisor at the National Research Foundation (NRF), Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Beh Kian Teik, Assistant Managing Director, Economic Development Board (EDB) and Ms Yvonne Zhang, Fintech entrepreneur and CEO of local company Aquifer Institute and earned them the honour to represent Singapore to present their ideas to an international expert jury at the Toulouse Space Show in France.
While elated with the results, the team is taking nothing for granted. 21-year-old Wilbert Tan, a member of “Insert Space” and an Electrical Engineering student at National University of Singapore shared, “We’ll celebrate today but it's just the beginning. We will have to push ourselves. Every time we're not working, someone else is.”
Ms Zhang shared her enthusiasm for the SSTA's initiative, “It is unique because they bring together the industry, the public sector as well as the educational entities together so that real, commercial data and commercial concepts are being reinvented and reinterpreted by the next generation. That's the best way of making change happen."
Simon Ong (Chairman), Johnson Seah,
Ng Siau Yong and Soh Kheng Peng
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Lewis Wu, Victor Khoo, Richard Loo, Serene Tay, Justin Chua,
Katherine Chong, Vincent Aw and Cho Chui Wai