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THEOS-2: Thailand Satellite Launched For National Development

    Artwork by Rana Fanindya Putri Murad
    Artwork by Rana Fanindya Putri Murad

    THEOS-2 launched into orbit

    Thailand’s Second Earth Observation System, or THEOS-2, is a geospatial monitoring satellite launched from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana last October 9, 2023. THEOS-2 will be extremely beneficial in the development and improvement of space technology infrastructure and geoinformatics in four major areas: space technology infrastructure, human resource development, space industry development, and geoinformatics services.

    In addition, the satellite’s high-resolution imagery will be used to update geo-information across Thailand to aid in the country’s emergency response and crisis management while also providing accurate information for its social and security management, city and economic corridor management, natural resource and ecosystem management, water management, disaster management, agricultural management, and others. 

    More extensive descriptions of the satellite’s gathered information applications in the following key areas are as follows:


    The satellite generates 3-dimensional data from high-resolution photos with pixel sizes as small as 50cm. This data can be used to create large-scale maps scaling up to 1:1000.

    Agriculture and Food Management 

    The information will be used to analyze and evaluate farming regions, categorize crop varieties, monitor crop health, and forecast crop production. These lead to higher agricultural productivity and more accurate agricultural yield predictions, thus contributing to economic stability and higher farmer living conditions.

    Integrated Water Management

    The satellite imagery can be used to monitor changes in water sources and their types across the country, assisting in the verification of water source data, counting the quantity of water sources, and detecting densely vegetated regions around water sources. This will improve farmers’ economic stability, improve industrial water management quality, and reduce pollution and environmental consequences on public health.

    Natural Disaster Management

    Natural disaster management consists of disaster preparation, prevention, early warning, evacuation, and disaster assistance. The satellite information will be extremely crucial in providing data on disaster-stricken areas for easier post-disaster monitoring and repair and faster disaster assistance for all victims.

    Urban Planning and Land and Border Management

    The information can increase the efficiency with which national infrastructure projects, such as water management and high-speed rail networks, are managed, as well as decrease the gaps in access to public services like health, education, transportation, and natural resources.

    Natural Resources and Environmental Management 

    The information provides insights into broad-scale issues for solutions-building, particularly targeted to strengthening forest and community forest management, which covers both terrestrial and aquatic environments. This is achieved through sustainable natural resource management and meticulous tracking of accurate, transparent, and efficient carbon standards.

    THEOS-2 Thailand Earth observation satellite. Credit: Airbus
    THEOS-2 Thailand Earth observation satellite. Credit: Airbus (

    A collaborative effort

    The Thailand government chose Airbus in June 2018 to build THEOS-2. It replaced the  THEOS-1, Thailand’s first Earth observation satellite launched in 2008. Thailand’s space agency, Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), confirmed that the agreement was signed on June 15, 2018, with Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Suvit Maesincee, and Airbus CEO, Thomas Enders in attendance.

    Now that the satellite has been launched, a comprehensive capacity-building program will be implemented as part of the contract. The program involves Thai engineers creating an integrated geo-information system, ground station, and two earth observation satellites: a high-resolution satellite system and a compact satellite system. These engineers will assemble and test the tiny satellite systems from Airbus subsidiary, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), in order to offer technology transfer and engage local suppliers. “Many users will access the system, from policy-makers to local users. Ultimately, THEOS-2 will be leveraged to develop Thailand’s national skills in the whole Space value chain,” Dr. Anond Snidvongs, GISTDA Executive Director, explained. The usage of these satellite systems will be supplemented by an extensive training program that will make use of Airbus’ considerable geo-intelligence experience, further developing Thailand’s geo-spatial business.

    Thailand’s Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation, Supamas Isarabhakdi, indicated that the THEOS-2 Earth station will undergo a 3-month test run of the current system before becoming fully operational and conducting earth observation activities.  THEOS-2 was launched into a sun-synchronous orbit, which ensures that the satellite passes over the same Earth position at the same time every day, allowing it to track changes over time and offer accurate and dependable data on a variety of topics. The satellite is currently in free flight, conducting operational testing to ensure optimal functionality.

    Improving Living Conditions

    Technological advances will have numerous benefits if one can manage and use them wisely and effectively. In addition to industrial interests, technological advances can be utilized to examine, improve, and efficiently employ nature for humanity’s benefit. The various goals of the THEOS-2 satellite, including a focus on agriculture, will undoubtedly improve human life. This is particularly crucial as humans are connected with nature, from which we continue to derive immense benefits. As such, let us strive for a balance where technological enhancements enrich our lives without compromising nature and humankind.

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