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India’s moon mission control loses contact with spacecraft during landing

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India’s moon mission control loses contact with spacecraft during landing | Thaiger

India’s moon mission control has lost contact with the unmanned spacecraft moments before it was due to land on the Moon early this morning (Thai time), in a blow to the country’s ambitious low-cost lunar program.

India was hoping to become just the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to successfully land on the Moon.

But as Indian PM Narendra Modi looked on, the mood in mission control in the southern city of Bangalore soon deteriorated when it became clear that everything was not going according to plan.

After several tense minutes as the expected landing time came and went, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan announced that communication with the lander had been lost.

“The ‘Vikram’ lander descent was going as planned and normal performance was observed, until the craft had descended to 2.1 kilometres above the moon’s South Pole region.”

“Subsequently the communication from the lander to the ground station was lost. The data is being analysed,” he said, surrounded by grim-faced engineers and technicians in the control room.

Modi told them after Sivan’s announcement that “what you have done (already) is not a small achievement”.

Chandrayaan-2, or Moon Chariot 2, took off on July 22 carrying an orbiter, lander and rover almost entirely designed and made in India, a week after an initial launch was halted just before blast-off.

ISRO had acknowledged before the soft landing that it was a complex manoeuvre, which Sivan called “15 minutes of terror”.

India's moon mission control loses contact with spacecraft during landing | News by Thaiger

Artists impression of the moonlander and rover

The lander, named after Vikram A. Sarabhai, the father of India’s space program, aimed to be the first to reach the lunar South Pole region. It was carrying rover Pragyan, wisdom in the Sanskrit language, which was due to emerge several hours after touchdown.

The rover was expected to explore craters for clues on the origin and evolution of the Moon, and also for evidence on how much water the polar region contains.

The 2.4-tonne orbiter remains in operation and will circle the Moon for about a year, taking images of the surface, looking for signs of water, and studying the atmosphere.

According to Mathieu Weiss, a representative in India for France’s space agency CNES, analysing the South Pole is vital to determining whether humans could one day spend extended periods on the Moon.

Scientists believe that large amounts of water are in the area, making human settlement there more viable.

“If people can survive on the Moon, then this means it could be used as a pitstop on the way to Mars, the next objective of governments and private interests such as Elon Musk’s Space X.”

Asia’s third-largest economy also hopes to secure lucrative commercial satellite and orbiting deals in the competitive market.

China in January became the first nation to land a rover on the far side of the Moon. And in April, Israel’s attempt failed at the last minute when its craft suffered an engine failure and apparently crashed onto the lunar surface.

During a live videocast of that mission, control staff could be heard saying that engines meant to slow the craft’s descent and allow a soft landing had failed and contact with it had been lost.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

India's moon mission control loses contact with spacecraft during landing | News by Thaiger

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Technology

First Thai-made satellite to launch in 2023

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First Thai-made satellite to launch in 2023 | Thaiger
PHOTO: "Wait, you're telling me Koh Phangan has a 'Full ME Party'?!"

The first Thai-manufactured satellite, named the TSC-Pathfinder and designed to survey Earth’s natural resources, is planned to be launched in 2023. The launch is part of a schedule by the Ministry of Higher Education Science Research and Innovation’s developing space technology programme to launch 5 small satellites between 2021 and 2027. Space engineering development and application, research and development, and educational and industrial support will be the focus of their new programme. The TSC Pathfinder’s project manager reported that a minimum of 15 staff members on the project would be trained in China within the next year about the construction and engineering of satellites.

While Thailand did officially launch a satellite last year, it was manufactured in the Netherlands and launched in French Guiana. The Thai-made satellite is the first thing in space made in Thailand, aside from some trees on the International Space Station.

It’s exciting to see Thailand enter the space race, although some people are critical, asking if the big price tag on a project like this will actually benefit Thailand and its citizens. Many people have posted publicly on social media pointing out that, while the government spends heavily on advanced space technology, many Thai people are struggling with poverty.

MHESI Minister Anek Laothamatas believes that developing space technology would definitely be beneficial for future investors because of the expansion of advanced technology into everyday life for so many people. He believes that while the launch of these satellites is just establishing of the basic infrastructure needed to develop the technology further, the field will actually create a lot of jobs and stimulate the economy in the long run.

“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.”

The MHESI have planned five satellite launches between now and 2027:

  • The TSC-Pathfinder, launching in 2023 to survey natural resources
  • The TSC-1, launching in 2025 to survey the Earth
  • The TSC-PFT1, launch date TBD to probe dual-system technology
  • The TSC-PFT2, launch date TBD to analyze a system of sending and receiving signals in a low-frequency-X band
  • The TSC-2, launching by 2027, to use the developments of the third and fourth satellites in order to reach the Moon’s orbit

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Expats

The challenges for the digital nomad in Thailand | VIDEO

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The challenges for the digital nomad in Thailand | VIDEO | Thaiger

Ah yes, the challenges of being a digital nomad in Thailand. What is a digital nomad? People who can do their job anywhere in the world with just a laptop, tablet and wi fi (preferably free wi fi). Thailand has the scenery, wi fi access, speed and lots and lots of coffee shops (with excellent coffee these days).

But there are also lots of challenges that make Thailand not quite the perfect haven for the digital nomad. Kay from Hey Big Mango checks out the challenges faced by digital nomads in today’s program.

Some more information about the Smart Visa and digital nomads HERE.

Here’s a link to more of Kay’s content.

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Technology

Personal Data Protection Act might be delayed to give businesses more time to prepare

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Personal Data Protection Act might be delayed to give businesses more time to prepare | Thaiger
Photo by Tech Daily for Unsplash

The launch of Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act, set to go into effect in June, might be delayed to allow small and medium-sized more time to prepare for the new regulations.

The new Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn says that if the public has negative views about the new legislation, then the ministry might discuss whether to defer or amend the act.

Rumours that the PDPA will be postponed until the end of this year seen more likely as members of the Personal Data Protection Committee have yet to be appointed. This committee is necessary to approve any follow-up legislation.

Several associations are requesting the deferral and enforcement, saying that they lack the readiness to comply with the new regulations, in particular associations in the travel and automotive fields. They fear that nefarious people may exploit loopholes in the law to abuse businesses to benefit themselves personally. The legitimate fear of abuse have led to the drafting of supplemental legislation addressing complaints, consent procedures, and expert panels, but will require approval by the short-staffed committee.

The Personal Data Protection Act was originally published in May of 2019 but immediately deferred for one year allowing a grace period for members to comply. In May 2020 the cabinet agreed to another postponement in enforcing most of the sections of the PDPA to give the public and private enterprises affected time to comply and rework internally, and also to reduce costs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Digital Economy and Society Minister has pledged to assign priority to 5G, a national digital ID, fake news suppression, and a government cloud. They have set goals to address a 5-point plan that they will focus on:

  • First, the ministry will concentrate on helping people gain access to innovation and technology.
  • Second, they will strive to manifest an ecosystem that will be more amiable to a digital economy in the future.
  • Third, the ministry will pursue digital infrastructure development including the 5G rollout and “smart cities”. 500 million baht has already been earmarked by the government for 5G projects in various fields including education, farming, and manufacturing.
  • Fourth, the ministry plans to build people’s trust in the digital ecosystem especially for cybersecurity and electronic transactions. They aim to develop a legal framework and how to enforce it.
  • Finally, plans are underway to protect people from abuse on the internet especially on social media.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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