Keratan Akhbar


Focus Malaysia
SpaceIn CEO breaks barriers in aerospace industry, champions women in STEM
By Eynez Syazmeena | 08 Mac 2024

SPACEIN CEO Norilmi Amilia Ismail is determined to carve out a niche for her company in the challenging aerospace industry, traditionally dominated by men.

Last year, SpaceIn made history by collaborating with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to launch Malaysia’s first pico-satellite SpaceANT-D. Pico-satellites, weighing less than 1kg, offer cost-effective solutions for various software and hardware tests.

The successful launch of SpaceANT-D showcased Malaysia’s aerospace talent and competitiveness on a global scale.

Currently, SpaceIn is gearing up to launch SpaceANT-1 by the year’s end, designed to aid in forest management. This satellite will collect data from forest sensors and transmit it to earth stations and cloud storage for easy access.

Norilmi’s vision is for Malaysia to achieve self-reliance in satellite technology through SpaceIn’s efforts to develop locally made components.

“SpaceIn aims to develop the local industry by constructing components here,” news portal Free Malaysia Today quoted her as saying.

The USM aerospace engineering centre space programme coordinator has also faced challenges as a female founder, encountering stereotypes that sometimes hinder investor collaboration. However, with SpaceIn’s achievements, she hopes to inspire other talented women to contribute their expertise to the industry.

“It is not easy as a female founder. Sometimes, when meeting investors, they are reluctant to collaborate due to existing stereotypes. Usually, as a woman, you have to prove that you can do it,” added Norilmi.

Moreover, she pointed out the importance of retaining women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, addressing the gap often created in their careers due to family and other responsibilities. Norilmi noted the need for men’s support in empowering women in these fields.

“In Malaysia, there are a lot of female graduates in STEM. However, there is a gap in the middle of their careers, often due to family and other issues.

“Therefore, it is important for women to stay in the industry or in business because their input is needed.”

Furthermore, Norilmi’s participation in the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs Space4Women programme underscores her commitment to promoting educational and career opportunities for women in space and STEM globally. – March 8, 2024

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