Thailand has been testing its first high-resolution Earth observation satellite for four consecutive days and is ready to test its image-capturing capacity
Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GITSDA) has updated its satellite launching operation that THEOS-2 now is ready for image-capturing testing. Having launched into orbit and revolving around the earth, THEOS-2 is one step closer to its mission of capturing images of the Earth and collecting geospatial information as the space engineering team at the ground station in Sri Racha, Chon Buri province, stands ready to issue an order to turn on its camera.
The team has reported the readiness of the control system of the satellite after having tested it for three days after the launch. Until Saturday, the engineering team will adjust its orbit in order to reposition it until it fits its true operational position.
According to GISTDA, after THEOS-2 has entered into orbit, the satellite will transition to operational mode, which includes testing the control system and establishing communication with ground control stations to ensure data stability and accuracy. The phase will last approximately 6 months.
THEOS-2 is the country’s ambitious program to reform the “Decision System” and spatial management that will help improve science and technology infrastructure while increasing the economic, social, and environmental capability of the country.
The Cabinet in early 2017 endorsed the proposal made by GISTDA, which was set to cover work from upstream to downstream, ranging from satellite launch and development, image-producing system development and Geoinformatics management, infrastructure improvement in Information Technology, capability development of industrial sector, and space technology services, including “Application System” in 6 areas of water, agriculture, natural disaster, national security, natural resource, and city management, which will ensure beneficial utilization of Geo-Informatics and Space Technology.
Therefore, GISTDA noted, the THEOS-2 system not only provides a satellite but is also a cumulative infrastructure to many sectors in order to reform the Decision System and spatial management of the country, which is considered an important strategy for the country’s development as such. The budget set for this program was around Bt 7,800 million and two satellites, THEOS-2 and THEOS-2A will be the crucial part of this program, according to GISTDA.
Dr. Pakorn Apaphant, Executive Director of GISTDA, said that THEOS-2 can capture images with a resolution of up to 50 centimetres (The satellite can capture subjects as small as 50 cm in one pixel), and this enhanced capacity results in better and more precise data for timely and accurate spatial area tracking and management, which will play a significant role in supporting various aspects in the development of the country.
“I’m glad that the launch of THEOS-2 satellite into orbit was successful. This marks Thailand’s first earth observation satellite capable of very high-resolution imagery,” said Dr. Pakorn during the launch of the satellite on October 9.
The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (MHESI), meanwhile, expected that the satellite would help in the efficient management of disasters and emergency situations. THEOS-2 will increase capacity in natural disaster management, water management, agricultural management, urban planning and natural resources management.
“This underscores the necessity of science and technology in national development and the improvement of the well-being of our people. It is a testament that public investment can yield tangible innovative solutions capable of addressing challenges for the people,” said MHESI Minister Supamas Isarabhakdi.
On October 7, THEOS-2 was set to be launched at the Guiana Space Center of the European spaceport in French Guiana in South America, but it was “scrubbed”, a sudden scrapping of the rocket launch due to a sudden interruption either by weather or technical error.
The centre had detected abnormally charged electricity which was beyond the threshold at its Safety Management Unit of the rocket and called it off in the last 14 seconds. It rescheduled the launch for THEOS-2 again on October 9, which was successful at 8.36 am. The satellite will be subject to testing for six months before being in true operation. It can work in the space for up to 10 years.
Its predecessor, THEOS-1 or Thaichote, has been operational for 15 years with a resolution of 2 meters to 15 meters.
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