Tiny Thai satellite set to shoot planet

Tiny Thai satellite set to shoot planet

The first Thai satellite invented for educational purposes is set to be launched into space in August, said Suwat Kuntanapreeda, head of the "Knacksat" programme.

Knacksat is an acronym for KMUTNB Academic Challenge of Knowledge Satellite, said Prof Suwat, who is also head of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB).

The tiny satellite, which is roughly 10x10x10cm in size and less than 1 kilogramme in weight, will capture pictures of the globe from outer space at a resolution of 1 kilometre to 2km per pixel, Prof Suwat said.

It will orbit at a height of 600km from the Earth's surface, and cost only 9 million baht to design and build.

The project received funding from the National Science and Technology Development Agency.

The planned launch of Knacksat is a collaboration between KMUTNB and Synchroton Light Research Institute (SLRI), said Prof Suwat, adding that the satellite has already undergone vacuum testing to prove that it is ready for the mission.

"This test was not only aimed at evaluating the satellite's efficiency but also at analysing whether changes to its body mass [in orbit] will result in any adverse effects," he said.

Knacksat will enter an orbit of 600km above Earth and, if the operation is successful, earn Thailand's vacuum technology international recognition, he said.

Knacksat is a Thai pride because it is totally a Thai-made satellite, said Sarawut Sujitjorn, director of the SLRI.

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