'People always ask if Singapore is launching an astronaut into space'

While some women's eyes light up when they see diamonds, Ms Lynette Tan, 37, confessed sheepishly that discussing Singapore's satellite projects has that same effect on her.

In 2015, Ms Tan, a mother of two, became the first female director of the Singapore Space & Technology Association (SSTA).

"People always stop short at the word 'space' and ask if Singapore is launching an astronaut or rocket to the moon," she told The New Paper.

In reality, her job revolves around raising awareness and interest in Singapore's space efforts - which consist of getting satellites launched for surveillance and research purposes - through education programmes and corporate events.

Ms Tan was a speaker at the opening weekend of the Nasa: A Human Adventure exhibition at the ArtScience Museum, which runs until March 19.

Though many Singaporeans tend to assume space technology is too foreign to be bothered with, Ms Tan noted that Singapore's use of satellite technology has grown over the years and has many commonplace uses.

She said: "How do you think you can play Pokemon Go, use Google Maps or watch television broadcasts live?"

Ms Tan also volunteers at the Singapore Space Academy, conducting camps in June and December to inspire students about space exploration and research.

Her passion for educating the young about her industry extends to her children as well.

Her children Everett, four, and Zoe, six, not only get gizmos and 3-D models from their mum's overseas conventions, they're also encouraged to follow their dreams.

When Everett once expressed interest in being a nurse when he grows up, he was corrected by her friend: "No, you mean you want to be a doctor".

But Ms Tan quickly stepped in and affirmed that he could choose whichever career path he wanted: "My parents gave me the liberty to explore my options, so I want to do the same for him".


This article was first published on February 22, 2017.
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