Government preps space economy master plan

Government preps space economy master plan

The government, through the Office of National Digital Economy and Society Commission (ONDE), plans to implement the first national master plan for the space economy by the end of this year.

The move is aimed at promoting the space economy ecosystem in the long term and capitalising on a market that is expected to be worth 300 billion baht by 2032.

The draft master plan for 2023-37 was approved by the National Space Policy Commission and is set to be submitted for cabinet approval.

The draft is in line with the third phase of the Digital Thailand Roadmap that captures rapidly changing technological dynamics and the global economic and social situation.

According to Putchapong Nodthaisong, secretary-general of ONDE, the digital economy cannot be separated from the space economy as both technical development and the value chain of the space economy are critical factors in the new economy ecosystem.

More importantly, Thailand is in the early stage of the transition from the 30-year satellite concession regime to the licensing system since Thaicom's operations under the state concession expired in 2021.

Mr Putchapong said Thailand needs this clear policy for the space economy to ensure economic benefits stemming from the space economy to the overall economy and the private sector. He added that the new space economy would be mainly driven by the private sector while state agencies would act as facilitators.

According to a report by the Geo-Informatics and Space Tech Development Agency (GISTDA), the local market value of the space economy is expected to reach 300 billion baht by 2032. Meanwhile, the market value of the space economy globally would be around US$1 trillion by 2040.

Mr Putchapong said the draft contains all related matters including guidelines and practices for the promotion and development of the space economy, such as lifting local enterprises to become space-related business providers, incentives to support the private sector and workforce upskilling in the space economy.

The master plan for the space economy covers all types of satellites and innovations, including geostationary satellites and medium earth orbit and low earth orbit satellites, for which the government must have a clear policy and strategy to ensure optimum benefits for the country.

Mr Putchapong said ONDE is also pushing the draft of the new space economy promotion plan which would complement the national master plan of the space economy.

The draft of the new space economy promotion has sailed through four hearings by related agencies and will face a fifth hearing in the future.

Mr Putchapong added that the government has also finished the draft of the national space economy law which is now being considered by the Council of State before being submitted to the cabinet and the House of Representatives. The law will regulate development of the space economy ecosystem.

Under the law, GISTDA, the space agency and space research organisation responsible for remote sensing and tech development satellites under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, would be transformed into a new larger organisation. The Office of the National Space Policy Commission would be merged into GISTDA.

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