The Airbus-built THEOS-2 Earth observation satellite has successfully launched on a Vega rocket from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency of Thailand (GISTDA) partnered with Airbus in 2018 to develop their next-generation national geo-information system.
Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Space Systems at Airbus, expressed his excitement about the launch, stating that THEOS-2’s 50cm imagery solidifies Thailand’s position as one of the few nations with access to high-resolution geostrategic information. Airbus will continue to support GISTDA in their efforts to establish a comprehensive geo-information system for the benefit of Thailand.
THEOS-2 is a successor to the Airbus-built THEOS-1 satellite, which was launched in 2008 and continues to provide imagery beyond its expected operational lifetime. As part of the THEOS-2 program, GISTDA’s geo-information system will utilize satellite imagery from Airbus’ constellation of optical and radar Earth observation satellites, such as Pléiades and TerraSAR-X.
In addition to THEOS-2, the contract with Airbus includes a second Earth observation satellite called THEOS-2 SmallSAT, developed by Airbus’ subsidiary SSTL. This satellite, based on SSTL’s CARBONITE series, has already been delivered to Thailand. The contract also involves a capacity building program that will allow Thai engineers to participate in the development of applications, ground segment, and the SmallSAT spacecraft itself. SSTL will also provide training for GISTDA engineers to enable them to design, manufacture, integrate, and test similar small satellites in Thailand in the future.
The images captured by THEOS-2 will play a crucial role in GISTDA’s future Thai Earth observation system. This system will support various aspects including social and security management, city and economic corridor management, natural resource and ecosystem management, water management, disaster management, and agricultural management.