First Thai-made satellite slated for 2023 launch

Thailand is taking a giant leap forward in technology by planning to launch the first of five domestically designed and built satellites in 2023, the government said last week.

The first satellite, named TSC-Pathfinder, will survey the Earth’s natural resources. It is being developed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation as part of its 2021-2027 space technology program.

Thailand has owned and operated several communications satellites since 1991, but they have all been foreign-made, and some are owned by the private sector.

The Ministry signed an agreement with 12 partners last week for the project, including five universities and seven other government agencies with some role in space technology or science.

Minister Anek Laothamatas said that space technology would not only help the Kingdom advance in research and development and scientific fields, but would also hold appeal for future investors as the technology supports the IoT (Internet of Things).

“The government is laying down the basic infrastructure and the development of human resources,” Anek said at the 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.”

After the launch of TSC-Pathfinder, a second satellite, TSC-1, will be sent skyward to survey the Earth in 2025. A third satellite, TSC-PFT1, will be launched in 2027 to test dual-system technology, and a fourth, TSC-PFT2, will test a system of receiving and sending signals in a low-frequency-X band.

The fifth and final satellite, TSC-2, is the most ambitious. It will be sent to orbit the Moon by 2027.