A race to the moon will help Thailand soar on earth


Thailand’s goal of launching a moon-orbiting satellite in seven years will produce residual benefits here on earth to propel the Kingdom to a higher level of development, according to the National Innovation Agency (NIA). The Agency has launched a startup incubator program geared toward space technology to help jump-start that effort.

“Promoting the development of space-related products and services is an important mechanism to boost the growth of the country’s other industries,” said Pun-Arj Chairatana, NIA Executive Director. The moon mission “will see Thailand become part of a global space industry worth US$1 trillion and will generate enormous revenue.”

Pun-Arj made the remarks at a press conference unveiling “Space Economy: Lifting Off 2022,” an incubator for startups engaged in space and space-related technologies. He said that the incubator would fund startups that will fill gaps in the domestic supply chain for the space industry and serve as a platform for the Kingdom’s moon shot.

“Thailand currently has more than 1,000 space-related businesses with a total economic value of more than 30 billion baht (nearly $1 billion) and growth of at least 10 percent annually,” Pun-Arj said.

Scientific and technological advances emanating from space-mission research and development in other countries, especially the U.S., have produced breakthroughs in everything from medicines to microwave ovens.

While Thailand is no stranger to the stratosphere. The Kingdom’s private sector has been buying and operating communications satellites since the early 1990s. In 2018, researchers from the King Mongkut Institute of Technology designed and built the country’s first communications satellite, named KNACKSAT.

Launched from Vanderberg Air Force base in California, KNACKSAT’s technology is relatively basic. The orbiter represents the first steps by the Thai science sector to create a home-grown space industry.

Photo courtesy of https://www.smethailandclub.com/