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Thailand To Build Its Own Space Situational Awareness Satellite

Photograph courtesy of Bangkok.com.

The Thai government is considering a proposal to indigenously build its own Space Situational Awareness (SSA) satellite that, if approved, is to be launched in 2022.

Upon government approval, the satellite will be built by the Thai space agency, the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), with the aim of 30% of the satellite’s components be sourced and built in Thailand.

The satellite will be the first indigenously-built space system in Thailand.

The purpose of the satellite project is to provide space-based SSA from low-Earth orbit in order to ensure the security of Thai space interests as well as its “airspace.” Once built, the satellite will weigh approximately 50 kilograms, will orbit at an altitude of 500-600 kilometers, and will cost 1 billion Baht (approximately U.S.$30 million).

A single satellite in orbit, along with no purpose-built SSA infrastructure on the ground, will unlikely provide Thailand with a reliable source of SSA data unless it will be linked to a wider international SSA network led by the United States, China, Russia, and-or the European Union.

“It is the kind of satellite for monitoring near-earth space objects that might fall down to the Earth, together with protecting our satellite in orbit from any crashes that might occur…We want to develop made-in Thailand satellites to perform this function,” said Anod Snidwongs, the director of GISTDA.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Chair of the National Space Policy Committee, Prajin Juntong, said that the proposed satellite aims to contribute to Thailand’s airspace security, as well as to develop the human and technical capacity required for Thailand to establish its own viable space sector.

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