In my last post, I made a point about other nations maturing their space tech industries. We need to treat space tech talent in the same way we treat highly skilled professionals.
When it comes to power plant operation, Singapore only uses Singaporeans. We do it because it is a matter of national security. In the same way, we need to treasure Singaporeans who are trained and possess technical expertise on rocket, satellite and related space technology. They are a strategic resource who we must nurture and retain. If the industry is stifled and they can’t find the work in Singapore, they will move where the work is, to other countries, and it will not be easy to bring them home.
Brain drain is not a new phenomenon. But it will be doubly difficult to reverse, not only because they make their career and family overseas, but because of the nature of their work. Rocketry is closely linked to ICBMs, satellite imagery to reconnaissance; other countries will be loath to see them go and will leverage regulations similar to ITAR. We must stem the flow, or brain drain will become brain death.
I believe there are enough Singaporeans are willing to develop the industry here, if the Government will throw in their lot. To us, it is equally a matter of Singapore’s survival and national pride. We long for the day Singapore launches her first rocket, delivers her first payload, and puts her first citizen among the stars. I hope our leaders dream as large as we do.