Malta will be sending a space balloon into the stratosphere in mid-August of this year. This was revealed by the director of the Institute for Space Sciences and Astronomy within the University of Malta Prof Kristian Zarb Adami.
The Space Balloon will be launched at night either from Malta International Airport or else from the Gozo heliport. During the event held at the museum of Archaeology in Valletta the institute received a grant Euro 75,000 for a number of projects including the latter mentioned one.
Prof Zarb Adami said that the space race has started and Malta does not want to be left out. After an extensive consultation period with all those involved in this sector, the government will also be launching an updated space strategy by the end of this year.
Minister for research, innovation and co-ordination of the post Covid-19 strategy Owen Bonnici also addressed the press gathered at the museum in Valletta.
Minister Bonnici focused his speech on a central fund that is being set up to help locally based space ventures. He added that, government wants to tap in the ever expanding satellite business and worked diligently to give a detailed brief to the Malta space taskforce chaired by Omar Cutajar.
Interestingly, during July 2017, there has been a lot of hype about a British company known as Orbital Access wanting to set up a space business on the Mediterranean archipelago.
The company was looking at a myriad of options including that of having a Boeing 747 at Luqa that would be used to launch commercial satellites. Although nothing much has been heard about the Prestwick based company for the past four years, Minister Bonnici re-iterated that the space taskforce will look at all possible avenues to make sure that this project and similar ones reach fruition.
Report by Chris Cauchi / Photos by Riccardo Flask