Skyline of Bangkok behind the Flag of ThailandInternationalIndiaAfricaCOLORADO SPRINGS (Sputnik) – The scientific cooperation between Russia and Thailand has not been impacted by global tensions, National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand Deputy Director Wiphu Rujopakarn told Sputnik. When asked whether the current tensions in the world affect Thailand’s cooperation with Russia, Rujopakarn noted that at the scientific level he would say “no.” “It does not affect astronomer-to-astronomer cooperation from Thailand to Russia,” Rujopakarn said. “Absolutely not.”Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine has led to a financial and diplomatic boycott of Russia by the collective West as well as calls for NATO to militarize its eastern flank. Rujopakarn underscored that Thailand is willing to boost cooperation with Russia on astronomy while scaling up to space will be a multilateral consideration that they have to explore.”At the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, we have actually Russians working at our institute,” Rujopakarn said. “We’re very open to hosting, organizing cooperation with Russia, very much so. And we look forward to making new contacts as well, exchanges, linkages.”Astronomy is an area that Russia is delivering immensely to the community, he said. “I’m an astronomer, I studied distant galaxies. We appreciate the incoming data from Russia.”All these scientific driven areas of cooperation is something that they can decide unilaterally within the institution, the official said.”Scientific cooperation has no frontier whatsoever. But of course, scaling up to space is going to be a multilateral consideration that we have to explore,” Rujopakarn said.
Thailand Concerned by Southeast Asia’s Space Situational Awareness Gap – Official
The deputy director further noted that Thailand is very concerned that Southeast Asia resembles a hole in the globe in terms of not having space situational awareness (SSA) capabilities or space traffic management (STM) in place.”Because Southeast Asia is like a big hole in the globe that has effectively little or none in terms of SSA or STM. We’re very concerned,” he said. “SSA is an area that we are very concerned. At our institute, we developed our in-house optical and radio sensors. By doing that, we lower the cost by an order of magnitude compared to the importation from the West… as a result, it increases the scalability of the SSA capability in the region.”Rujopakarn said this is almost non-existent in Southeast Asia and scientists are trying to ramp up such capacity. He added that Thailand does not have a launch capability and operates at the level of prevention and avoidance.”SSA is something we can do right now,” he said. “But of course, we’re open to partnering with other nations in order to increase the capability, especially the launch capability.”Rujopakarn spoke with Sputnik on the margins of the annual 38th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.