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Govt looks to space industry to fire economic lift-off

The Government is looking to space as a new frontier in international business.

It said yesterday it is seeking to create a Space Enterprise Zone which could create jobs and prove to be “another major economic pillar” for the Island.

Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy Walter Roban and permanent secretary Dr Derrick Binns are next week flying to Paris to attend the World Satellite Business Conference to try to drum up business in this area.

It was also revealed that Bermuda has been working with an operator to place a satellite in the Island’s coveted orbital slot.

Termed the “world hottest real estate” by a space industry publication, orbital slots are in high demand for communications satellites and can generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue.

Allocated in 1983 by the UN’s International Telecommunication Union, Bermuda has been in a long-running dispute with Isle of Man over it due to potential interference from the slot that they filed for. It’s not clear where that dispute now stands but a Government Minister said two years ago that Bermuda expected to have its BermudaSat-1 brought into operation by 2013 and that its aim was to lease it and provide service through it. The location is said to serve the lucrative North American market.

Key players in the satellite industry, including more than 120 senior executive speakers, are among the 600 expected to attend next week’s Paris conference.

“The purpose of the trip is to provide Bermuda with the opportunity to gain invaluable insight into the current and future prospects for the satellite industry, and to network and do business with key players at the highest level,” Mr. Roban said yesterday.

“The Ministry is looking into the feasibility of creating a Space Enterprise Zone in Bermuda, building on our history of hosting a NASA tracking station, and more recently, hosting the European Space Agency and NASA, enabling them to establish a transportable tracking station in Bermuda to track the launch of rockets.

“The intent is to attract key operators in the satellite industry to conduct operations from Bermuda. In return, Bermuda would consider incentives to enhance our attractiveness to such an enterprise. The purpose of our visit is to meet directly with these operators to ascertain the elements that would make a Space Enterprise Zone successful. We would then work to develop those elements before implementing the Zone. Ultimately, we would like to see the Space Enterprise Zone serve as another major economic pillar for Bermuda.”

Minister Roban added: “We anticipate that jobs for the Island could be created as a result of the establishment of a Space Enterprise Zone. But we would be better positioned to speak to this after we have begun the discussions with stakeholders.

“Previous Ministers with the responsibility for Telecommunications have attended this conference in the past to further Bermuda’s space initiatives. As a result, we are currently already working with an operator to place a satellite in our orbital slot.”

For more information about the conference go to: http://www.satellite-business.com/

Heading for Paris: Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy Walter Roban

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Published September 09, 2011 at 9:28 am (Updated September 09, 2011 at 9:27 am)

Govt looks to space industry to fire economic lift-off

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