Launch prepared for Thaicom 9A broadband satellite
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Launch prepared for Thaicom 9A broadband satellite

Mr Patompob says the recently initiated Thaicom-Globalstar satellite gateway in Thailand provides LEO constellation services and solutions.
Mr Patompob says the recently initiated Thaicom-Globalstar satellite gateway in Thailand provides LEO constellation services and solutions.

SET-listed Thaicom is set to launch its new broadband satellite Thaicom 9A in the 119.5° East orbital slot, with the service expected to start in the first quarter of 2025, according to its space economy business strategy.

The launch enables the company to continue providing service to existing customers before the end of the engineering lifespan of its Thaicom 4 satellite in the third quarter of 2025.

Chief executive Patompob Suwansiri said Thaicom 9A is one of three satellites the company will launch to the 119.5° orbital slot, for which it won a licence to operate in a January 2023 auction.

In 2023, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission held the country's first auction of satellite orbit slots offering five packages: 50.5°E and 51°E orbit slots; 78.5°E; 119.5°E and 120°E; 126°E; and 142°E.

Space Tech Innovation (STI), an affiliated company of Thaicom, grabbed the second and third packages, while state telecom enterprise National Telecom secured the fourth package.

Thaicom's board approved a 15-billion-baht investment plan last year for the 119.5°E slot through the three planned satellites.

Under the plan, the company is set to launch three new geostationary satellites called Thaicom 9A, Thaicom 9 and Thaicom 10 to the slot.

The two small satellites, Thaicom 9A and Thaicom 9, are scheduled to start service by the first quarter and third quarter of 2025, respectively, while the bigger Thaicom 10 is slated to initiate service by the end of 2027.


Mr Patompob told the Bangkok Post Thaicom 9A is an existing satellite in another orbit. Thaicom will buy it and drag it to the 119.5°E orbit slot by the end of 2024. The satellite has a remaining engineering lifespan of at least three years, he said.

The company expects to launch broadband service by the first quarter of 2025, said Mr Patompob.

Thaicom plans to construct Thaicom 9 through a partnership with US-based satellite construction firm Astranis Space Technologies. The two parties already signed a construction contract, he said.

Thaicom 9 is expected to launch service by the third quarter of 2025, said Mr Patompob.

Thaicom 10 is a large satellite worth around 7.9 billion baht. It is set to commence service by the end of 2027, estimated to last until the end of the licence term, some 15.5 years, he said.

The satellite will have a capacity of 100 gigabits per second, 10 times more than the capacity of each of the two smaller satellites, said Mr Patompob.

Thaicom 10 is the latest version of broadband satellites dubbed software-defined satellites (SDS).

Compared with traditional systems that are contained design and inflexible for configuration updates, the SDS system can rapidly deploy flexible and fine-grained network management strategies, reduce system costs, and improve collaboration between satellites and the compatibility of a heterogeneous space system.

Last year STI signed a partnership agreement with Eutelsat Asia Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of the satellite operator Eutelsat SA. The partnership is for Thaicom 10, which will be launched in the 119.5°E slot.

Under the agreement, Eutelsat is committed to leasing the capacity from the satellite and operating the service for 50% of the satellite's capacity during its lifetime.

"The partnership with Eutelsat will help Thaicom 10 break even in terms of operations within one year after launching the service," he said.

The company plans to launch the Thaicom 11 satellite to the 78.55°E orbit slot by 2026, said Mr Patompob.

"The investment in the satellite projects is a strategically important business decision, ensuring we can continue to serve domestic and international clients, earning their trust," he said.


Thaicom operates its own satellites, including Thaicom 7 and Thaicom 8, while also partnering with Globalstar and OneWeb, operators of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

Mr Patompob said Thaicom recently launched the Thaicom-Globalstar satellite gateway in Thailand to provide LEO constellation services and solutions.

The gateway facilities are located at Thaicom's satellite station in Pathum Thani province. They aim to provide various solutions in Thailand and the region, such as security and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to benefit industries such as tourism and maritime, along with nature conservation and national defence, he said.

Globalstar is a leading provider of satellite IoT solutions and mobile satellite services.

Mr Patompob said earlier the company holds the exclusive right to distribute Globalstar's services in Thailand.

The deal with Globalstar is part of Thaicom's business development roadmap as LEO satellite business offers diversification and is intended to complement its satellite services portfolio, he said.

Thaicom is also a distribution partner of Eutelsat Oneweb, providing LEO broadband service in the Australian and New Zealand markets.

Mr Patompob said Thaicom is in talks with several LEO satellite providers regarding new long-term business opportunities.

"Geostationary and LEO satellites complement each other in terms of capitalising on space economy development," he said.

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