Parliamentary Secretary Schembri explained that the aim is to develop a National Space Strategy for Malta through an international consultation process and for this 3 main objectives were established.
The first objective is that of the creation of a competitive legal regime favourable to the development of a commercial space sector. ‘This will strengthen Malta’s appeal as a hub for foreign investment in this sector, attract foreign direct investment for space satellite and space mining companies, develop a tailor-made incentive packages for space start-ups registration in Malta and satellite companies to register their operations in Malta’, explained Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri.
The second objective is research and innovation through space-generated data on how this can be utilised by the government and private stakeholders to improve the quality and reliability of the public services provided to our citizens.
The third objective is job creation and economic growth. ‘Space can contribute to economic growth by employing professionals and promoting technology innovation and hence future generations should be prepared through the promotion of STEM subjects and the implementation of a space educational programme’, explained Parliamentary Secretary Schembri.
“Hence that is why the Space Taskforce will be established which will be responsible for overseeing the development of a Maltese policy framework which enables commercial activities related to outer space, to identify and develop key policy directives that deem perfect for the Maltese Government to create a regulatory environment favourable to the development of a commercial space sector”, said Parliamentary Secretary Schembri.
The Space Malta Taskforce work will complement Malta’s overall goal of pursuing smart specialisation in its economy and to become a leader in technology innovation and finally it will review ways and means of working with the private sector to attract space commercialisation, exploitation, and innovation developments initiatives to Malta.
Parliamentary Secretary Schembri said that space provides capabilities to solve challenges such as the monitoring of climate change, agriculture, maritime, epidemics and disaster resilience and Malta holds several advantages in this respect, be it its location, its access to the EU market, its human capital and its government’s progressive stance with regard to technology that could give it a unique position in the commercialisation of outer space.
‘Space can be a strong contributor to Malta’s economic growth. I look forward to working hand in hand with all stakeholders including European institutions, agencies, and international organisations, to seek cooperation with other countries and study the requisite policy and programming synergies and funding’, said Parliamentary Secretary Schembri.
The Space Malta Taskforce will be chaired by Omar Cutajar, and its members are Dr. Ing Kenneth Chircop, Matt Prusak, Prof Aaron Casha, Dr. Ing Richard Blundell, Prof Kristian Zarb Adami, Dr. Jean Marie Mifsud, Charles Pace, Roberto Cassar, and Roberta Albanese Dalli.
During the launch of Malta’s vision for a National Space Strategy, Parliamentary Secretary Schembri attended the CanSat Educational Event as part of the Space Education Programme aimed at helping students to familiarise with the STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Over 20 students between 14 to 18 years old coming from the Verdala International School Pembroke, Gozo Secondary School, Santa Monica B’Kara and MCAST Institute of Applied Sciences participated in the first edition of the CanSat Malta Competition 2019. Teams were set up and made up of students and a teacher as their team leader who competed against one another. During the CanSat Event, each CanSat was launched at an altitude of 500 meters by a model rocket. At apogee and rocket separation, the CanSat slowly descended under parachutes as they transmit data to their respective teams. CanSat was a simulation of a satellite that fits in a soft drink can. It included miniature sensors that are based on the same concept of the sensors used in a real satellite.
During his address, Executive Chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando highlighted that the MCAST is being supported by ESA to embark on a Space Education Programme for Maltese schools. This education programme is intended to bridge the gap between space applications and society. It aims to drive the relevance of space-related data into Maltese classrooms, in better approaching challenges here on Earth. He added that today we are seeing the result of the work of four student teams coming to fruition through the rocket launch event of the CanSat Malta Competition. Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando concluded that “the Space Education Programme will continue to provide the educational component for young students to learn and be inspired.”
Source: Press Release by the Parliamentary Secretariat for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation