After the success of Razaksat in 2009, Malaysia is going to embark on the second Razaksat called Razaksat2.
The Malaysian government has decided to expand the country’s satellite development programme with an approved allocation ceiling of RM200 million for the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) to embark on a 5 year RazakSAT-2 programme.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said on Friday 9th September 2011 in Shah Alam, Selangor that the allocation under the 10th Malaysia Plan would allow Malaysia 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 satellites in the Near Equatorial Orbit (NEqO),” he said.
The RazakSAT-2 programme will 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.
“Being a ground breaking effort, the operations of RazakSAT in the NEqO posed significant challenges. However, RazakSAT engineers, with the Malaysian innovative spirit, have been able to address most of the challenges, achieving success with RazakSAT capturing more than 1,000 images to date.
“The images will be utilised for various applications such as mapping, agriculture, fishery as well as urban and coastal monitoring,” Dr Ongkili added.
Typically, satellites for remote sensing have a life span of three years in space.
The technological scope of development for RazakSAT-2 shall be to upgrade systems capability, notably for satellite hardware and software.
The programme will continue to add to 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.
The development cycle will involve the manufacturing of several engineering models in order to minimise operational risks. RazakSAT-2 is expected to be completed in 2015.
“The programme will also enable the national space technology initiative to strengthen, promote and develop research and development, enhance commercialisation of geoinformation products and services through comprehensive R&D activities, as well as training and human capital development,” the minister said.
An inter-ministerial committee will be set up, coordinated by MOSTI, to manage and optimise the resources from the satellite for national use.
“The expansion of the programme will provide opportunities for Malaysia to export its expertise, capabilities and sharing of knowledge with the world. This includes to penetrate the international markets and herald the supply chain that supports the government’s aspiration to promote innovation,” Maximus added.
Dr Ongkili said 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.
“The government is fully committed towards enriching the societal wellbeing through science and technology, specifically in space and satellite technology development programmes.
“Both upstream and downstream space activities are required to mature the industry. The human capital development is essential for the new breed of knowledge workers while sustaining the existing local talent as part of the “brain gain” initiative towards Malaysia achieving high income nation status,” added Dr Ongkili.
Dr Ongkili said this during a visit to ATSB accompanied by his deputy Datuk Fadillah Yusof, the ministry’s secretary-general Dato’ Madinah Mohamad and senior ministry officials. Also present were ATSB chairman Datuk Noraini Ahmad and CEO Datuk Dr Ahmad Sabirin Arshad.
Source : Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, MOSTI