Local tech firm plans to send Singaporean 20km up in helium balloon
Come May 15, local tech firm In.Genius is sending a Singaporean 20km up in a helium balloon
The founder and director of local technology and research firm In.Genius, Mr Lim Seng, 58, has met his fair share of setbacks in his drive to send a Singaporean to the edge of space.
The project, announced in 2013, was initially scheduled to launch on Singapore's 50th birthday in 2015, but beset with difficulties.
Hurdles included not getting approval to launch in Singapore, candidates backing out after being asked to pay for their training, and not buying a space capsule component, which led to a delay in the launch till May 15 this year.
The yet-unnamed pilot is a Singaporean.
Despite the roadblocks, Mr Lim never gave up and his focus was intense.
In 2015, Mr Lim worked 46 days straight in Hyderabad, India - where the average temperature is 36 deg C - without air-conditioning to fix a problem after three rats died in a test flight due to a pressure leak in the space capsule.
"I didn't even realise there was an air-con! That shows you how absorbed we were in getting this right," he told The New Paper two weeks ago at the National Library in Bugis, where he was giving a talk on his team's journey.
In the last three years, the team worked to get airspace approval from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority to launch in Alice Springs, which they obtained in January.
It required them to submit safety measures and operational details so that it is safe for people on the ground and aircraft in the air, said Mr Lim.
He recalled an incident where he aborted a launch in the last hour due to crowded airspace and poor weather, despite having already obtained approval.
"Everybody was disappointed...(but) we had to abort due to safety reasons," he said.
The team will be ready for the May 15 launch , said Mr Lim.
"We want to show that even as a small nation, we can also do incredible, unthinkable things by our own effort and grit," he said.