11 July 2024

A Thai-owned satellite, named Thai Choke, successfully avoided an encounter with another object in space last Saturday night, according to the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA).

GISTDA said on its Facebook page that Astrolab, a unit of GISTDA, discovered, at 7.03pm last Saturday night (local Thai time), through its space traffic management system, Zircon, that there was a serious risk that the Thai Choke satellite could collide with another object, named Feng Yun 1C DEB, which would pass only 101 metres away.

To avoid the possibility of a collision, GISTD decided to reduce the orbital altitude of the Thai Choke satellite by 60 metres, which put the two objects at a safer distance and the satellite continues to function as normal.

The Zircon space management system functions like an early warning system to protect satellites from collision or risky near-misses with other vehicles or space garbage. GISTDA used to rely on foreign space agencies, at high service charges, but later developed its own system, which was put to use last December with Thai Choke satellite.

GISTDA said that it plans to offer the service to other satellites owned by other Thai firms or countries.