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Napa-1 satellite finally readies for launch

Napa-1 satellite finally readies for launch

THAILAND: Napa-1, Thailand’s first military satellite, is reportedly set to be launched on Friday (June 19) following months of delay due to technical problems and COVID-19.

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By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 16 June 2020, 02:56PM


The fully equipped Napa-1 satellite to be launched on Friday (June 19) at 8.51am local time from a base in French Guiana. It will take images of the Earth at about 500 kilometres up in space. Photo: Royal Thai Air Force.

The fully equipped Napa-1 satellite to be launched on Friday (June 19) at 8.51am local time from a base in French Guiana. It will take images of the Earth at about 500 kilometres up in space. Photo: Royal Thai Air Force.

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) will launch it into space at 8.51am local time using an Ariane Vega rocket from the Ariane Launch Area 1 in French Guiana, South America, according to an RTAF source yesterday (June 15).

The launch has been postponed three times, first in September and then in December due to technical issues. The satellite was supposed to be launched in March, but it was put off again because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Napa-1 is the Thai air force’s first satellite. It will primarily be used to observe and survey Thai air space for defence and national security purposes. It will also be used to detect hotspots to prevent bushfires and water resources to combat floods or drought.

The source said Napa-1’s cameras will play a crucial role in the RTAF’s defence system, strengthening national security and preventing threats.

The air force purchased the satellite from Innovative Solutions in Space, a small satellite manufacturer based in the Netherlands.

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Napa-1 is technically a CubeSat 6U model and will begin work when it finally goes into orbit approximately in the middle of this year. It will work in tandem with the Napa-2 satellite, scheduled to be launched in July.

Its cost has not been revealed but AVM Supijjarn Thamwatharsaree, chief of RTAF’s Space Operation Centre (Spoc), said earlier it cost “less than B100 million”.

Spoc was set up in August to enhance RTAF’s capacity in space.

 

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