Thailand skies set to THEOS-2: A space-age milestone on the horizon

Picture courtesy of GISTDA สำนักงานพัฒนาเทคโนโลยีอวกาศและภูมิสารสนเทศ (องค์การมหาชน) Facebook

The forthcoming launch of Thailand’s second earth observation satellite, THEOS-2, on October 7, was announced by Supamas Isarabhakdi, the Minister of Higher Education Science Research and Innovation. At a recent press conference, Supamas shared that the low-earth orbit satellite’s launch will be a significant milestone for the country’s expertise in space technology and expressed plans for the THEOS-3 project.

Supamas emphasised that the THEOS-2 satellite will enable Thailand to own its natural resources data. This data can be leveraged by state and private entities alike. Moreover, it is expected to inspire the younger generation to engage more with space technology, a critical aspect of domestic industry development.

“The launch is an important milestone for the country’s space technology and innovation development. We will extend our research and development efforts under the coming THEOS-3 project, enhancing the country’s competency in space technology.’

The 7.8 billion-baht (US$212,245,000) project, THEOS-2 (Thailand Earth Observation Satellite), has been under the ownership of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) since 2019.

The satellite, weighing 425 kilogrammes, is scheduled for launch at 8.36am Thai time, at the Guiana Space Centre in South America. The first signal from the satellite is expected to be received at a ground-based station in Si Racha district, Chon Buri, at 10.53am on the same day, reported Bangkok Post.

GISTDA director, Pakorn Apaphant, stated that THEOS-2 is the country’s first satellite capable of such high image resolution, capable of detecting an object on earth as small as 50 centimetres. The data collected will be utilised for the country’s economic and social development plan, including farming development, disaster management, and even carbon credit management.

Airbus regional director for defence, Olivier Chalvet, highlighted that the launch of THEOS-2 marks a milestone of 15 years of collaboration with Thailand. He credited the project’s success to the combination of Airbus’s advanced space technology and GIDTDA’s expertise.

In a step further, GISTDA plans to launch the first-ever Thailand-made low-earth satellite, THEOS-2A, into orbit next year. With these developments, Thailand is undoubtedly making strides in its space technology endeavours.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.