NTU partners Europe’s largest satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space to develop new satellite technologies
Nanyang Technological University is collaborating with Thales Alenia Space, Europe’s largest satellite manufacturer and Thales teams in Singapore, the only Thales corporate research centre in Asia, to develop innovative concepts and technologies for small satellites.
The partnership aims to leverage the rapidly growing nanosatellite and microsatellite segments of the global satellite industry which usually refers to satellites less than 100 kg.
The partners will set up a joint research laboratory in NTU named S4TIN, short for Smart Small Satellite Systems - Thales in NTU.
The lab brings together the world-renowned heritage of Thales Alenia Space in satellite systems, NTU’s pioneering research in small satellite platforms and technologies, and the local research and technology capabilities of Thales in Singapore.
Several joint projects have been identified. The first is to develop small and robust infrared cameras that are able to detect changes in the climate from space. Another proposed joint research programme is to study the use of satellite technology for maritime security.
The S4TIN joint lab was launched today by Mr Yeoh Keat Chuan, Managing Director of Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), NTU Provost Prof Freddy Boey, Thales Alenia Space’s Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Mr Patrick Maute and Thales in Singapore’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Jean-Noel Stock.
Prof Freddy Boey said this landmark collaboration is an international recognition of NTU’s strengths in satellite research and development.
“NTU is home to some of the brightest minds in engineering in Singapore today. We have successfully built, launched and operated four satellites in space for the last five years. Satellite research and development is extremely demanding and highly multidisciplinary and to put even one in space is no small task,” Prof Boey said.
“Using the expertise we gained, we are now tackling an even bigger challenge. Together with Thales, we now aim to develop more advanced satellite technology to bring the world better telecommunications and more accurate climate sensing and observation data. This is also the more sustainable route, as smaller satellites require less resources and time to build, launch and operate.”
Mr Patrick Maute affirmed NTU’s impressive achievements, adding that the creation of S4TIN demonstrated the mutual commitment to push the frontiers of nano/micro-satellite technologies.
“We are impressed with NTU’s ability to build, launch and operate four satellites in such a short period of time. The talents trained by NTU had proven themselves to be fully capable of developing nano/micro-satellites at a rapid pace. We are excited to work with NTU to explore innovative applications of such satellites in remote sensing, environment monitoring, or navigation / automatic identification system (AIS) among others,” Mr Maute said.
“Thales had years of successful collaboration with NTU through Thales Research & Technology Singapore. With the opening of S4TIN joint lab and the setting up of Space CoE, we are confident that the Thales team in Singapore will play an active role for future joint projects with NTU and strengthen the connections between Thales Alenia Space and the Singapore space community.”
Managing Director of EDB, Yeoh Keat Chuan, added that SaRC-II and S4TIN would support the growth of Singapore’s satellite sector.
“We are pleased that Thales is deepening its partnership with Singapore through establishing S4TIN with NTU and setting up its first Space CoE in Asia. NTU’s Satellite Research Centre and Thales’ efforts to build expertise and talent in small satellite technologies aligns well with EDB’s goal of building Singapore to become a regional leader in this sector.”
Management of S4TIN
S4TIN will be co-directed by Assoc Prof Low Kay Soon, centre director of NTU’s Satellite Research Centre; Mr Jose-Maria Gonzalez Asenjo from Thales Alenia Space, who is assisted by Dr Erick Lansard, CTO & Vice President Space Development from Thales in Singapore.
Mr Landsard is also the Director of Thales Research & Technology Singapore’s Space Centre of Excellence, whose engineers will be working at the new joint lab.
These Thales engineers will contribute their expertise in RF transceivers, photonics, sensor signal processing and complex system simulation. The Space Centre of Excellence aims to further develop competency in mission analysis and simulation, and satellite engineering, as well as facilitate the translation of research outcomes into future products.
The new joint lab will leverage the NTU Satellite Research Centre which has more than 40 researchers, staff and students. It is also expected to benefit from the interaction and synergy offered by NTU’s faculty, researchers and engineering schools.
As a demonstration of its commitment for world-class satellite research facilities, NTU also today officially launched its Satellite Research Centre II (SaRC-II), which houses state-of-the-art satellite communications and research equipment.
NTU is now building VELOX-CI, Singapore’s first climate satellite and VELOX-II, an experimental communication satellite, both of which are in their advanced stage of development.
This will bring the total number of NTU-made satellites in space to six, in addition to the four already orbiting Earth.
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The Smart Small Satellite Systems - Thales In NTU (S4TIN) joint lab is NTU’s second collaboration with Thales, after the CNRS International NTU THALES Research Alliance (CINTRA) was set up in 2009.
CINTRA is a collaboration between NTU, the Thales Group of Companies and the National Centre of Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique or CNRS) in France.
Satellite research and development contributes significantly to the NTU’s research efforts in Innovation Asia, which aims to produce research that is beneficial for Singapore and beyond.
It is one of NTU’s Five Peaks of Excellence – interdisciplinary research areas which the university aims to make a global mark in. The other four peaks include Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, and the East-West knowledge hub.
About Nanyang Technological University
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.
Besides its main campus, NTU also has campuses in one-north, Singapore’s science and tech hub, in Novena, Singapore’s medical district, and at Gillman Barracks, Singapore’s contemporary arts cluster.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg