Airbus Defence and Space

Space in daily life All programmes


The Thai Earth Observation System

The THEOS turnkey system contract signed with the Thai Ministry of Science and Technology's Space Agency (GISTDA) in mid July 2004, is a comprehensive programme covering:

  • the design, development, launch and early in-orbit operations of the THEOS satellite
  • the design and development of associated ground segment facilities deployed in Thailand
  • the comprehensive training of Thai engineers in space engineering and system operations
  • the development of added-value space imaging applications

System capabilities have been tailored to Thailand’s specific needs with a worldwide imaging capability.

Launched on 1 October 2008 on board a Dnepr rocket, the THEOS satellite is based on Airbus Defence and Space’s ASTROSAT500 generation of high-performance optical Earth observation satellites, which benefits from the company’s extensive experience. Its payload features both high resolution in panchromatic mode (two metres) and wide field of view in multi-spectral mode (90km). The THEOS satellite operates in a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of around 820km. Its contractual lifetime is five years.

The THEOS ground segment developed in Toulouse and deployed in Thailand provides GISTDA with full capabilities to task, monitor and control the satellite as well as capabilities to acquire, process and archive received image data, for distribution to end-users.

As part of the THEOS contract, about 20 Thai engineers joined the Airbus Defence and Space development team in Toulouse for more than two and a half years, receiving intensive and comprehensive space programme training. This training was completed in Thailand with intensive system operations training allowing these engineers to form the core of GISTDA’s THEOS operations team responsible for daily in-orbit system operations.

THEOS is fully owned and operated by GISTDA and provides Thailand with worldwide geo-referenced image products and image processing capabilities for applications in cartography, land use, agricultural monitoring, forestry management, coastal zone monitoring and flood risk management. THEOS provides access to any part of Thailand in less than two days.

Earth ObservationRemote sensing