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This book presents the first-ever comprehensive analysis of ASEAN space development programs. Written by prominent actors in the region, it goes beyond a mere exposé of the history, current status and future plans of ASEAN space technology development and utilization programs, by analyzing the conditions in which a space program can be initiated in the region. It does so in two ways: on the one hand, it questions the relevance of and motivations behind the inception of space development programs in developing countries, and on the other hand, it focuses on the very specific context of ASEAN (a highly disaster-prone area shaped by unique political alliances with a distinctive geopolitical ecosystem and enormous economic potential, etc.). Last but not least, after having analyzed established and emerging space programs in the region, it provides concrete recommendations for any regional or extra-regional developing nation eager to gain a foothold in space. As such, this book offers a valuable resource for researchers and engineers in the field of space technology, as well as for space agencies and government policymakers.



Chapter 1. Introduction: Why Space Matters in ASEAN

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a unique system of regional integration, appropriately balancing engagement with flexibility, while maintaining core values and principles. The ASEAN is also unique in terms of space technology development and utilisation. From some of the world’s oldest space programs (Indonesia) to countries having very limited experience even in satellite data applications (e.g. Cambodia), from purely academic and commercial national efforts (Singapore) to strong government-controlled programs (e.g. Vietnam), ASEAN member countries cover the full spectrum of possible cases. The ASEAN is a fascinating laboratory of space development, with a history overflowing with valuable lessons to be followed by newcomers to the space field. This introductory chapter presents the history, nature and functioning of the ASEAN as a regional integration system, before explaining why the decision was taken to limit the scope of this volume to ASEAN member countries.
Quentin Verspieren, Giulio Coral

Chapter 2. Indonesian Space Policy, Regulations and Programs: Past Achievements and Future Prospects

With one of the oldest national space programs in the world, Indonesia is a driving force in the development and utilisation of space technologies in Asia–Pacific. Since its foundation in 1963, the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) has conducted advanced research and development in satellite and rocket technologies, in accordance with ambitious and carefully crafted national space laws, regulations and policies. In this chapter, Professor Ida Bagus Rahmadi Supancana provides a comprehensive historical overview of the Indonesian national space development program with a strong emphasis on law and policy. Then, he outlines possible future directions of national space efforts, based on a thorough analysis of the Indonesian government’s latest strategies and roadmaps for space activities.
Ida Bagus Rahmadi Supancana

Chapter 3. Space Sector Development in Malaysia

Malaysia is among the earliest countries in Southeast Asia to venture into space activities. After the launch of RazakSAT in 2009, space activities in Malaysia began to slow down, and were no longer a priority for the government. Recently, positive development of space initiatives in universities and small companies has revived the space industry in Malaysia. This chapter provides a historical overview of space in Malaysia and discusses the approach taken by the government to develop this sector. A brief explanation of national space policy is also included, and the current state of the space industry in Malaysia is described. At the end of the chapter, several recommendations are proposed in view of increasing Malaysia’s significance in the space race in Southeast Asia.
Norilmi Amilia Ismail

Chapter 4. The Philippine Space Program: A Modern Take on Establishing a National Space Program

In August 2019, the Philippines became the most recent emerging space nation, upon the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) and the Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy (PSDUP), making it one of the few nations to have established a national space law from the very beginning of its space program. In this chapter, the history of space development in the Philippines and the various strategies taken to accelerate the creation of PhilSA are presented, including efforts such as baseline research studies, capacity-building activities, and multi-sectoral stakeholder consultations. The chapter also discusses the framework of the PSDUP, focusing on its six Key Development Areas (KDAs), the functions and objectives of PhilSA, and the space development roadmaps established to date, highlighting the need for a holistic, inclusive and comprehensive space development plan. These efforts have geared the Philippines towards a sustainable space program that combines established space activities with new space developments, making it unique among emerging space nations. Lastly, the chapter discusses how the Philippines’ experience of establishing a space agency and policy could benefit other emerging space nations, in establishing their own national space programs in a logical and comprehensive manner, and in becoming responsible members of the space community in the future.
Rogel Mari Sese

Chapter 5. Singapore, a Sustained Ambition Towards a Commercial Space Sector

Singapore is distinguishable from its ASEAN neighbours in several ways, including through its role in the global economy and its approach to space development. As a global financial hub, the small island state’s level of socio-economic development is among the world’s highest. Singapore’s economic growth can be attributed to its export-driven free market system. Accordingly, it is perhaps no surprise that the country’s space actors have focused on the commercialisation of space applications. While Singapore does not have a central space agency nor a national space law, the emergence of space businesses in the country has been considerable, incentivised by the government and supported by a relatively mature domestic space ecosystem comprising university-led R&D and multiple levels of international partnerships. Consequently, the number and complexity of indigenous satellites and related services have notably increased, especially in the last decade. In parallel, the country has positioned itself as an international hub to facilitate new partnerships in space, by playing a leading role in regional space institutions and conferences. Looking to the future, Singapore has pledged to grow the domestic space sector further by emphasising local skills development.
David Lit Xian Ho

Chapter 6. Vietnam: An Ambitious Satellite Development Program

For the past 30 years, the development and utilisation of satellite technology have provided a valuable contribution to the socio-economic development of Vietnam, leading the country towards modernisation and security. However, space applications in Vietnam are still scattered, suffering from a lack of coordination between governmental ministries and departments. Taking into account the complexities of the local situation, this chapter provides a comprehensive factual history of space technology development and utilisation programs in Vietnam, from the late 1970s up to now. After an initial close partnership with the Soviet Union, Vietnam has developed an ambitious domestic space development program. After presenting this program’s history, with a focus on satellite development, the chapter emphasises the current state of satellite technology applications in the country. Finally, it concludes with a very extensive and thorough analysis of the current shortcomings of the Vietnamese situation and a detailed overview of the national space strategic orientations for 2030, released in early 2021.
Pham Anh Tuan, Le Xuan Huy

Chapter 7. Comparison of Established ASEAN Space Programs and Lessons Learned

Although fascinating from a purely historical perspective, the purpose of this book is not merely to describe the space development trajectory of ASEAN member states but rather to serve as a practical handbook from which to pick and choose applicable lessons on the establishment of a domestic space program. Core of the book, this chapter proposes a factual comparison of established ASEAN space programs before detailing a series of lessons distilled from Chaps. 26 and from the case of Thailand. It highlights the contributions of various stakeholders to the success or the failure of national space development efforts, be they universities, government agencies or commercial satellite manufacturers. The huge variety of socio-economic and governmental landscapes among ASEAN member countries allows both specific and general lessons to be drawn, therefore making this chapter a useful read for any country willing to initiate a domestic space development program. In addition, while the focus of this book is on developing countries, the lessons they offer are applicable to all countries.
Quentin Verspieren

Chapter 8. Other ASEAN Countries: Space Achievements So Far

Four countries in ASEAN do not have a space development program: Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. This chapter demonstrates that although these countries do not have an official domestic space program, they have nevertheless conducted certain forms of space activities, mostly focused on space applications rather than technology development per se. In fact, the space development situation in these four countries is more complex and varied than often described in the available literature, which usually discards them as pure and simple “non-space” countries. Some own a telecommunication satellite, while others only benefit from leased ones; some have initiated programs to build domestic capacity in space technology development and utilisation, while others mostly rely on foreign expertise. Beyond their differences, these four countries also share cross-cutting issues, such as the growing influence of China in the development of local space activities, the important role played by regional space cooperation and capacity building organisations, but also the great technical and political challenges of initiating a space program in a low-income country.
Maximilien Berthet, Quentin Verspieren

Chapter 9. Concrete Recommendations for Space Development in Non-spacefaring Countries

This chapter introduces concrete recommendations for space development. Space technology and satellite data can be valuable for solving various societal issues, but there are numerous challenges to master space technologies. Particularly, the lack of qualified human resources and pre-existing knowledge is a severe hurdle for the development and launch of a country’s first satellite. To overcome this hurdle, we propose the approach called “Mini space ladder”. The method enables non-space-faring countries to grow engineers with strong motivation and both explicit and tacit knowledge, to make space missions successful. The effectiveness of the proposed method is justified with the results of past projects conducted by non-space-faring countries.
Ryohei Takahashi, Nobuhiro Funabiki

Chapter 10. Connecting Space with Citizens of ASEAN: A Social and Policy Ecosystem for Sustainable Space Development

Sustainable space development has two meanings: to ensure the long-term viability of space activities, and to contribute to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) via space. Developing links between space and sustainable development is especially important in ASEAN, a region characterised by strong disparities between member states, frequent natural disasters, and varying levels of capacity to conduct space initiatives. Specifically, this chapter argues that sustainable space development in ASEAN is contingent on public involvement. This includes sharing the benefits of space activities with ordinary citizens, and promoting inclusive pathways for the public to provide its own input to local space efforts. The chapter provides an overview of why and how to connect space with the public in the specific ASEAN context, in the hope of supporting policymakers who are new to the space field—both within and beyond ASEAN—to develop practical methods for public engagement.
Maximilien Berthet

Chapter 11. The Role of the United Nations for Space Applications Development and Utilization in ASEAN

To address many of the resource, disaster and development challenges ASEAN member countries face, ESCAP, as secretariat of the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development (RESAP), is taking the initiative to connect space agencies and related stakeholders with end-users seeking benefits from geospatial information applications. RESAP has leveraged and integrated innovative technologies by supporting member States through building capacity in using space science, technology and their applications for disaster management and sustainable development. This work contributes to implementing the Asia–Pacific Plan of Action on Space Applications for Sustainable Development (2018–2030), a regionally-coordinated, inclusive and detailed country-needs driven blueprint that harnesses space and geospatial applications, as well as digital innovations to support countries, particularly those with special needs, to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda. ASEAN countries benefit from the capacity building efforts of ESCAP in the use of GIS and space applications provided by contributing countries and UN partners to enable government officials to develop their skills to utilize these tools over the long term. Additionally, ESCAP provides ASEAN member countries with knowledge products and research on geospatial applications. Space applications can provide far-reaching solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing humanity. The United Nations has an important role to play in supporting these efforts through regional cooperation and in linking these national efforts to the global agenda.
Juliet Braslow, Kelly Hayden, Ingrid Dispert
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