November 25, 2020

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Thailand working on National Space Act

Thailand is looking to implement a National Space Act, which will integrate all the country’s space-related activities, enact space laws, and boost the space economy.

In a meeting held on 2 October by the National Space Policy Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister, the committee appointed the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) to draft a preliminary Space Act. Currently, GISTDA assumes the role of a space agency in Thailand, although other agencies – such as the Ministry of Defence – conduct space activities of their own, like launching satellites.

The National Space Policy Committee comprises representatives from GISTDA, as well as the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, the Office of the Broadcasting Commission Television, and Office of The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

Thailand believes that an official Space Act will propel the country’s space industry, primarily by capitalizing on the opportunities presented by NewSpace. Among the topics, the Space Act will cover are potential launch sites or spaceports (including the construction of them), satellite manufacturing, space applications, space tourism, space mining, and research experiments in space.

According to another report on the proposed act noted that the GISTDA Director the agency will field expert opinions and observations to improve the laws in the act and make them more concise. Then, it will be brought before the Cabinet for consideration and approval before entering the process of being considered the council.

Space technology plays a vital role in everyday life. Moreover, the global space industry is poised for growth and is likely to continue increasing. This growth includes Thailand’s space activities which will depend on the nation’s readiness. From a recent study of the domestic space industry, it was found that Thailand currently has more than 35,600 businesses within the aerospace and its downstream industries, 95% of these are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups. It is evident that further support and investment will bring about economic benefits as a potential area of income generation for the country.

Thailand, therefore, must have legal and organizational criteria to support the growing aerospace industries. To comply with the advancement of space technology, the government will also need to work with the private sector.

A little over a year ago, the Royal Thai Air Force ordered a second Earth observation satellite from a Dutch NewSpace company, under a contract that included the ground segment, satellite commissioning and training. The contract is a showcase for our delivery-in-orbit model.

The contract included a training package – the company would train the Royal Thai Air Force to determine future operational needs and to design missions to fulfil those needs. Based on the training provided and knowledge Royal Thai Air Force officials gain from operating their first Earth observation satellite, the Royal Thai Air Force will develop a roadmap for the future.

The company is the prime contractor for the second Royal Thai Air Force mission, working closely with partners including an engineering firm focused on optical payloads, and a satellite software company. The firm’s subsidiary Innovative Solutions in Launch plans to send the second Royal Thai Air Force satellite into orbit on a Soyuz rocket in this year (2020).