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Thailand’s Airbus-built THEOS-2 Satellite Launched

The THEOS-2 satellite built by Airbus is a key part of Thailand’s enhanced Earth observation capability.

The Airbus-built THEOS-2 Earth observation satellite has successfully launched on a Vega rocket from Kourou, Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. In 2018, the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency of Thailand (GISTDA) chose Airbus as their partner for developing their next-generation national geo-information system.

The THEOS-2 satellite built by Airbus is a key part of Thailand’s enhanced Earth observation capability.
Source: Airbus

Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Space Systems at Airbus, said: “This successful launch of THEOS-2, with its 50cm imagery, confirms Thailand’s position in the small circle of nations with sovereign access to high-resolution geostrategic information. We will continue to support GISTDA’s ambitions to establish an all-encompassing geo-information system for the benefit of the Kingdom of Thailand.”

THEOS-2 follows the Airbus-built THEOS-1 satellite launched in 2008, which delivers imagery well beyond its 10-year operational lifetime. In the frame of the THEOS-2 program, GISTDA’s geo-information system benefits from satellite imagery collected by the Airbus constellation of optical and radar Earth observation satellites such as Pléiades and TerraSAR-X.

THEOS-2 satellite in an anechoic chamber - Copyright Airbus
THEOS-2 satellite in an anechoic chamber – Copyright Airbus

Through its subsidiary SSTL, Airbus will provide a second Earth observation satellite called THEOS-2 SmallSAT to Thailand as part of a contract. The satellite is based on SSTL’s CARBONITE series and has already been delivered. Airbus will also facilitate a comprehensive capacity-building program for Thai engineers along with the satellite. This program aims to involve them in developing applications, ground segments, and the SmallSAT spacecraft itself.

Additionally, SSTL proposes to train GISTDA, the Thai agency, in designing, manufacturing, integrating, and testing similar small satellites in Thailand. The THEOS-2 program will be crucial in GISTDA’s future Thai Earth observation system. It will support social and security management, city and economic corridor management, natural resource and ecosystem management, water management, disaster management, and agricultural management.

Airbus Comms Satellite Partnership in Thailand

Airbus also recently announced a partnership agreement to supply communications satellites in Thailand. Thaicom Public Company Limited, the prominent Asian satellite operator and space tech firm has contracted Airbus to develop its OneSat state-of-the-art, software-defined high throughput satellite.

Airbus has designed the OneSat to improve connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region’s Ku-band significantly. This advanced satellite will serve millions of people. Thaicom, which has launched eight geostationary satellites, will use flexible satellite technology for the first time with this project. This will enable them to enhance coverage, frequency, and capacity, which is crucial for the ever-changing Asia-Pacific region.

The satellite, which will orbit at 119.5° East, benefits Thaicom and offers opportunities for other operators. They can contract a share of the satellite’s payload capacity. This will reduce costs while maintaining control over their own capacity and adaptability.

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