Government aiming to support space-tech startups


Thailand’s National Innovation Agency (NIA) plans to support local startups specializing in space technology as part of its strategy to build a base of deep-tech companies in the Kingdom.

“We have to groom more local deep-tech startups engaged in advanced and emerging technologies. They spend time on R&D, which could potentially lift the country’s technological capabilities and competitiveness over the long run,” said Pun-Arj Chairatana, Executive Director of the NIA.

Although Thailand owns and operates numerous orbital satellites, it only recently began building its own satellites. Space programs, such as in the U.S., have been credited with jump-starting advanced technological development and providing a source of innovation.

Pun-Arj said that Thailand’s space economy is currently valued at $50 billion but could exceed $1 trillion in 20 years, citing estimates from the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency.

The NIA is supporting startups by working with both public agencies and private companies associated with the space economy. The NIA could help in terms of R&D to further develop related products and services, said Pun-Arj.

“We need to build our own capability in this area so we can reduce the purchase or import of the technology,” he said. “We need to think that space is not too far.”

NIA Deputy Executive Director Krithpaka Boonfueng said that the agency is currently working with the Thai Space Consortium in the “Space Economy: Lifting Off 2021” campaign. This initiative selects space business startups and allows them to join the co-creation incubation and development program to build a concrete space economy in Thailand.

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