Stars of public and private research align for Thailand’s ambitious space mission


A top Thai public university has teamed up with a private company in what could be a giant leap for Thailand’s ambitious space plans.

The Excellence Center of Space Technology and Research (Ecstar) at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang this week inked a five-year partnership with Terospace Co Ltd to research space technology.

Ecostar chief Charnwit Munikanont said the cooperation will focus on exchanges of knowledge, experience and academic data while also training personnel in the space research field, with a focus on new technology.

“Space technology will contribute significantly to the country’s development and increase our competitive advantage, especially in terms of innovation,” he said.

Terospace chairman Bawonrat Kanjanarat said the five-year agreement covers satellite big data, satellite imagery processing, artificial intelligence, a low-earth-orbit satellite constellation, and other space-related research.

Among those hailing the collaboration as a big step for Thailand’s space industry was Settapong Malisuwan, vice chairman of the House panel on communications, telecommunications, and digital economy and society.

He said the research partnership will strengthen Thailand’s space capability by driving development of knowledge and technology, as well as helping forge a skilled space-related workforce, which the country currently lacks.

“Thailand still has a lot of room to grow in space research and economy. We need to act now or risk losing opportunities and a chance to catch up with others,” he said.

The research partnership comes just a week after Nasa agreed to assist Thailand’s space industry as part of the SERVIR-Southeast Asia programme to tackle regional climate change and natural disasters.