Thais to take to the skies with historic launches in 2023-2027

Thais to take to the skies with historic launches in 2023-2027

The government is teaming up with partners to produce satellites in order to boost the country's space capabilities under the ambitious Thai Space Consortium project. National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand photo
The government is teaming up with partners to produce satellites in order to boost the country's space capabilities under the ambitious Thai Space Consortium project. National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand photo

A pilot satellite named TSC-Pathfinder, the first to be made by Thais, is expected to be launched in 2023 to survey Earth's natural resources.

It is among five small satellites being developed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) in its 2021-2027 space technology programme.

The ministry and 12 partners on Monday signed an agreement to work together on space technology research in a project involving five universities and space technology-related agencies.

The key areas of research will be space engineering development, application, research and development, educational and industrial support.

However, critics are questioning whether the project will really benefit Thailand in terms of space technology development.

Many on Twitter have also criticized the cost of the project when so many Thai people were living in poverty.

MHESI Minister Anek Laothamatas said on Monday that space technology would become a major field of interest for future investors because so many people were now involved with the IoT (Internet of Things) in their everyday lives.

"The government is well aware of that, hence it is laying laying down the basis infrastructure and the development of human resources," Mr Anek said at Monday's signing ceremony.

"The space technology business will be able to create start-up businesses related to space technology and in doing so elevate the country's economy."

Following TSC-Pathfinder's launch in 2023, a second satellite, TSC-1, will be launched to survey the earth in 2025.

A third satellite, TSC-PFT1, will be launched to test dual-system technology and a fourth, TSC-PFT2, will be launched to test a system of receiving and sending signals in a low-frequency-X band. These last two will pave the way for the fifth and final satellite, TSC-2, to be sent to the Moon's orbit by 2027.

Peerapong Torteeka, TSC-Pathfinder project manager, said at least 15 staff would within the next year receive training in China about how to build satellites.

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