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Malaysia embarks on RazakSAT-2 programme

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: The Malaysian Government approved MYR 200 million (MYR: Malaysian Currency) as a grant to expand the country’s satellite development programme to embark on a five-year RazakSAT-2 programme. The RazakSAT-2 programme is expected to be completed in 2015.

According to Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI); the allocation under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) will allow the country to continue with the next phase of the RazakSAT satellite programme, to be driven by the National Space Agency (Angkasa) and Astronautic Technology (M) Sdn Bhd (ATSB).

“The allocation reflects the government’s commitment in ensuring Malaysia maintains its world leadership in operating remote sensing satellite in the near equator orbit (NEqO),” Ongkili said.

Ongkili said that the RazakSAT-2 programme would be based on home-grown innovation, as a continuity of the RazakSAt Satellite Programme that was launched on July 14, 2009 which became a ground breaking epic as the world’s first remote sensing satellite launched into NEqO.

Ongkili said, being a ground breaking effort, the operations of RazakSAT in NEqO posed significant challenges, but RazakSAT engineers, with the Malaysian innovative spirit had been able to address most of the challenges, achieving success with RazakSAT capturing more than 1,000 images to date. The images would be utilised for various applications such as mapping, agriculture, fishery as well as urban and coastal monitoring, he added.

In addition, Ongkili stated that the programme would continue to add Malaysia’s already established in-house capability to develop space technologies from its present base of having developed 166 engineers and scientists involved in the programme, with participation of over 100 local vendors.

According to Ongkili, an inter-ministerial committee will be set up, coordinated by MOSTI to manage and optimise the resources from the satellite for national uses. He opined that space and satellite technology would contribute to the economic growth and gross national income through its supply chain and employment opportunities gained as part of the technology spin-off initiatives.