Plans To Build Spaceport In Sabah May Yield High Revenue

If this proposal is given a second chance and becomes a reality, Sabah might be the next launch site for spacecraft and act as spaceport.

Plans To Build Spaceport In Sabah May Yield High Revenue

The Federal Government had made plans to build a spaceport and launch satellites for other countries as well as Malaysia’s Maesat during the Mahathir administration and these plans could have generated a lot of money for Sabah.

If this proposal is given a second chance and becomes a reality, Sabah might be the next launch site for spacecraft and act as spaceport. A letter of intent was signed between the State Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (KSTI) and Sovereign Sengalang Sdn Bhd regarding the project, which is known as the Sabah International Space Launch Industrial Centre (SLIC).

The Daily Express reported at the time that Tawau had been chosen as the best location due to its proximity to the equator, which facilitates easier trajectory, as well as the fact that the area is surrounded by water and is not on a major shipping route.

However, because the State administration was then in the opposition, there was no follow-up. The 1.5-year feasibility study, according to KSTI Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif, will consider security and environmental implications.

“KSTI will go down in the annals of national history. A company called the Sabah Space Industrial Corporation will soon be established. To carry out initiatives to develop the aerospace sector in Sabah, the agency will collaborate closely with the Malaysian Space Agency (MYSA). The State Cabinet has given its approval to the proposal, he said.

According to Dr. Mohd Arifin, the completion of SLIC will create more than 90 high-paying job opportunities and about 5,000 jobs overall, as well as propel the growth of 500 downstream aerospace companies.

“MYSA and I have already had several conversations. “This initiative to build a spaceport and launch satellites will boost Sabah to become a leading state in the context of the high-level transfer of knowledge and aerospace technology in Malaysia,” he said. “God willing, Sabah will be home to the 16th space launching facility in the world and will make Malaysia the 9th country to have such a facility.”

The US, Europe, French Guyana, Russia, China, and India are currently the satellite launch sites for space programs.

Ezra Effendi, the deputy executive chairman of Sovereign Sengalang, did not reveal the proposed location, referring to it as “top secret,” but he did make a suggestion that the feasibility study must make sure they do not “kill turtles or orangutans” in addition to it “having sufficient infrastructure”.

Sabah has an odd geolocation that makes it possible for high angular velocity. Its proximity to the equator provides 20% more advantages for space vehicle launches. In plain English, this means that it is either 20% cheaper or 20% more capable of firing heavier loads from a spacecraft than other regions in Europe or the US.

The letter of intent calls for conducting the Cyclone 7 program, a family of rockets created by the Ukrainian company Yuzhmash, in Sabah. It is a tried-and-true space launch vehicle, with Cyclone 7 being the most recent version after the critically acclaimed success of its second and third series.

KSTI will present the findings to the Public Private Cooperation Unit (UKAS) and the Missile Tech Control Regime (MCTR). Ukraine’s Yuzhmash will oversee rocket development and production.

Dr. Mohd Arifin praised the administrative excellence of Sabah last year, and hopes to forge a stronger rapport with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, build more science and learning centres, and enjoy uninterrupted 4G speeds through the Jendela plan.

An Infra-Digital Taskforce has been set up to focus on this issue, and district education offices must implement more science, technology and innovation programs to attract more students to STEM.