SpySat? Air Force to Launch Its 1st Satellite This Week

An artist’s rendition of NAPA-1 satellite.
An artist’s rendition of NAPA-1 satellite.

BANGKOK — Thailand will launch its first military satellite into space this week, the air force announced today.

Maj. Gen. Supijjarn Thamwatharsaree, chief of the air force’s Space Operations Center, said the NAPA-1 nanosatellite will lift off from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana at 8.51am on Friday, Bangkok time. The satellite will be used solely for national security and disaster mitigation purposes, he said.

“The air force will not use the satellite for combat or monitoring citizens,” Supijjarn said. “We will use it for national security and developmental purposes such as border and maritime surveillance. We can also use it to protect citizens from new threats such as storms, droughts, and bushfires.”

The satellite, weighing only 5.37 kilograms, is equipped with a camera and remote sensing systems. The air force purchased the satellite from Dutch manufacturer Innovative Solutions in Space for an undisclosed amount in 2018.

“I don’t want to discuss the cost, but I can confirm that it’s within the air force’s budget,” Supijjarn said.

The air force is set to launch another satellite, NAPA-2, into orbit later this year, Supijjarn added.

NAPA-1 will be launched aboard an Ariane Vega rocket. Livestream of the launch will be available on Arianespace YouTube channel.

NAPA-1 satellite.
NAPA-1 satellite.