Thai University Sends Nation's First Indigenous Satellite to Orbit

December 19, 2018 | ProgressTH 

Great things have small beginnings. The launch of Thailand's first indigenous satellite, a cubesat designated KNACKSAT, marks the beginnings of a potential space industry in Thailand.

Accomplishments in space may be taken for granted by some. Watching companies like SpaceX or national space programs like Russia's Roscosmos landing rockets or shuttling cosmonauts and astronauts to and from the International Space Station makes spaceflight seem easy or routine.

But there is nothing easy or routine about accessing space.

For nations like Thailand yet to develop their own space programs and for now contract foreign companies to design and launch satellites, developing the human and technological resources required to make its own advancements in spaceflight requires a solid foundation and incremental first steps from smaller toward larger projects.

Thailand's First Steps Toward the Stars  

KNACKSAT represents this first, small step.

How small? 10x10x10 cm and weighing 1.3 kg. But despite its diminutive size, what Professor Suwat Kuntanapreeda, his colleagues, and a team of about 20 students will learn is extensive.

KNACKSAT will provide experience and a starting point for everything from satellite construction and working with launch providers, to tracking and utilizing data transmitted back to Earth.

One local newspaper summed up the significance of KNACKSAT:
KNACKSAT is aimed at boosting the knowledge and experience of researchers and students in the area of satellite design and construction, and serving as a foundation for the design and construction of larger satellites. 
Now, for Thai students, engineers, and technicians wanting to get involved in space, they finally have a program ongoing in Thailand itself to look toward. We hope this is just the first of many more steps Thailand takes toward the stars.

Other small nations in the region, like New Zealand are also reaching toward the stars. For example, Rocket Lab's Electron rocket has already delivered 24 satellites to orbit. As technology becomes more advanced and accessible the only limit to a nation's reach into space will be its collective ambition and imagination. 

More Info

KNACKSAT was launched by SpaceX along with 48 other cubesats and 15 larger microsats on December 3 from Vandenberg Air Force Station in California, USA as part of the SSO-A SmallSat Express rideshare mission. Full details, including pictures and animations can be found in this press release.

More information about KNACKSAT can be found on their official website here. They also have a Facebook page here.

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