Sri Lanka’s first space academy is to be built next year through an investment of US$ 20 million, through a joint venture between Supreme Satellite Private Limited Colombo and Great Wall Industry Corporation of China (CGWIC).
The new space academy is to be set up in a 30 acre land in the Koggala area to train Sri Lankans in space and satellite technology with the aim of promoting space science in the country.
“The mission is to inspire thousands of young people and encourage them to look to space for a career. It will use the Chinese world-class expertise in space science to further boost the size and quality of Sri Lanka’s science and engineering pool, providing the country with skilled workers who can boost the growth of our economy,” SupremeSAT Managing Director R.M. Manivannan said.
The academy will provide training in space technology and the handling of communication satellite operations initially in China, with an ultimate objective of training astronauts locally, according to Manivannan.
“Gone are the days when younger Sri Lankans searched for greener pastures overseas. We are rebuilding an economy which offers cutting edge technological sector opportunities such as our satellite venture. This will reverse the ‘brain drain’ which occurred in our nation for over 30 years,” he stated. Sri Lanka is poised to enter the global space race by launching its first-ever communication satellite within the next two years, through a joint venture between Supreme Satellite Private Limited Colombo and CGWIC, with an investment of US$ 320 million .
Currently, initial designing stages of this satellite have been completed in Beijing, China.
In less than two years, Sri Lanka would join an elite band of 44 countries by owning its first satellite, Manivannan stated.
“SupremeSAT for me is not just a satellite. It is a proud symbol of modern Sri Lanka that will connect the nation to the world with a strong signal that our nation is in par with any other country and we as its citizens have the ability to execute technologically advanced projects of this nature,” he said.
The company plans to sell satellite facilities to local telecommunication firms and other countries in the South Asian region after the launch of the Sri Lankan satellite, based on the DFH-4 (DongFangHong-4) satellite platform, manufactured by CGWIC, Manivannan said.
A satellite ground station is to be built in Koggala to oversee satellite operations.
The facility could be used by other countries in the region, he said.
Manivannan noted that the joint venture would also save local companies the expense of paying foreign satellite operators, whilst also bringing in foreign exchange to Sri Lanka.
He added that the company would also be looking at catering to telecom operators in other South Asian countries such as the Maldives and Bhutan as well.