The GoSpace Endeavor after 5 years of Self Funding is Running out of Cash

A Personal Letter from Lim Seng

Two days after the target launch date of 15th May 2018, we announced that we are refunding to all our crowdfunding backers. We felt that it was the right thing to do, since we were unable to launch and hence could not fulfill what was promised, in its truest manner.

I was asked in an interview about what the greatest challenge is, moving forward. I shared that it has nothing to do with technical matters as all systems were good to go, except that the high winds in the jet stream was on average above 100kts, which will rupture our stratospheric balloon, as opposed to a nominal 30kts in May for Alice Springs, Australia.

A brave man’s life is on the line — and safety is non-negotiable.

Unfortunately, missing this window also means that we are running out of funds after 5 years of self-funding in order to realize this historic event of sending the first Singaporean to Space for our nation.

This is our greatest challenge at this time. The basic cost of each launch attempt is about $200,000.

We have come so far, and came so close.

SINCE 2013 — BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE

I have also shared that I was never happier this time round and despite this postponement, I’m still upbeat. The reason is because we were finally able to put together all the key elements that are required make this launch possible, notably the TEAM of highly self-motivated good citizens.

It was never one man’s wielding of connections, scientific knowledge and engineering capabilities alone. We made it so far because of our GREAT team. Perseverance and time was needed to engineer, and acquire all the necessary components critical to this mission — the entire process bore the fingerprints of many people.

Twice before, I questioned myself, “Why do this?” And just a day ago, a third time. I would be dishonest to pretend that the emotional fabric of my family have been unassailable. Along the way, there were many setbacks both technically, and especially in the area of fund raising. Indeed, many with the power to say no, could not bring themselves to say yes. This project is meant to be “by the people; for the people”.

We were able to keep going because of the words of encouragement of those close to us. And also from those who came to us after learning about this endeavor.

For this launch, about fifty people, many on their own accord made the long trip from Singapore to Alice Springs to witness and support this event.

Group photo next to Quantum.1 on the 13th May 2018 after Ops Order 01.

In essence, we made it this far because this endeavor has always been “by the people, for the people.” It was the dedication and effort of a group, mainly made up of volunteers. They toiled long and hard, not for a few months — but for 5 years.

Nevertheless, an important element that kept the lights on and the cog moving, was the funding from my family’s savings. Every thing was paid by cash, and none on credit terms.

WHAT IF? AND WHY NOT?

In 2010–11, these two questions sparked the idea of the possibility of sending the First Singaporean to Space using a stratospheric balloon. Since then, my family have spent a few million dollars to date. In return, we were able to achieve the various important and key milestones that was necessary for credibility: designing & developing 3 capsules straight after Feb 2013 announcement of 1S2S; and Mar 2015 by achieving successfully 3 lab rat flight test. (as detailed in www.gospace.sg)

Looking back, I have no regrets. I believe history will look back and see the spirit, perseverance and grit of a group of Singaporeans who have made this endeavor possible with good guts. History will see what we did from 2013 to 2018. And there was a RSAF F15 Pilot brave enough to entrust his life on this team, that his wife and eleven year old son came to Alice Springs to witness him make this trip to the Edge of Space. Among others, each of them placed their signature on the Quantum.1 spacecraft — Singapore’s first.

But what if — this missed opportunity and disappointment of May 2018 also provided everyone with a window of opportunity for more Singaporeans to be a part of this history?

And why not?

MOVING FORWARD

Everyone believes in something. For us, we believe that this project would open up the minds of Singaporeans to dream and achieve bigger goals. We believe in inspiring the next generations so that they could aspire to greater things in life and for Singapore. Yes, a quantum leap in our mental model, jumping out of our tiny nation island’s boundary.

As written to Lee Kuan Yew at the wake, “Sir, while you brought Singapore from a fishing village to become a First World nation, we shall attempt to teleport Singapore into Space. It was a pity that you missed the successful lab-rat space flight test on 14th Mar 2015.”

In the past five years, and especially the past few intensive months, the entire group with the addition of more volunteers have grown further.

“One small step for Singapore, one giant leap for Singaporeans!”

We have also released the identity of our first astronaut Maj. Yip Chuang Syn, a F15 commander. And also one of our advisor, John Wallington, who is a decorated former Australian National Hot Air Balloon Champion. He also directed the record breaking Round-the-world balloon flight by the Russians.

Lim Seng and Maj. Yip Chuang Syn standing beside Quantum.1, during a live interview with CNA.

Overall, it has been a meaningful journey. We will continue to release more event and educational materials and seek ways to allow more Singaporeans to play a part. We continue to welcome ideas and volunteers alike.

However, we’ve come to a point that unless we are able to secure more sponsorship and funding, we cannot guarantee that the mission to send the First Singaporean to Space will continue.

A BIG THANK YOU!

For those of you who have believed and kept pace with us in this journey, I want to relate my heartfelt, sincere thanks and appreciation to you. We will continue to post our updates on www.gospace.sg.

Signing out for now.

Sincerely Yours,

Lim Seng
and family, 
together with the GoSpace team

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