Spaceport: the beginning of all space voyages.

Every crewed spacecraft, interplanetary probe, and satellite in Earth orbit begins its starward journey from a launch pad.

In the early days of space exploration, space launch capabilities were restricted only for government and military purposes, resulting in limited access to space and satellite technology for private sectors.

However, as space becomes more accessible for more entities around the world, we have seen rapid development in the industry. For example, on February 3rd, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) successfully launched the Smart Dragon 3 rocket from a specially designed sea launch spaceport, delivering nine payloads with a total mass of 1,500 kilograms into a Sun-synchronous orbit.

With the benefit of potentially launching rockets from anywhere and reducing environmental impact with nearby cities, the sea launch spaceport looks like a promising future for many upcoming missions. However, the sea launch spaceport currently supports a limited mass of payload and types of rocket. It's also facing logistical challenges during transportation from the cleanroom to the launching facility.

Moreover, despite being a promising option for launching payloads into orbit, the sea launch spaceport is still a relatively new method of space launch. It will require multiple flights to prove the safety and reliability of the overall system in the upcoming years.

For ground-based spaceports, while there are limitations regarding the launch azimuth on specific launch sites, it is still the most widely supported and operated by multiple launch providers globally. This is due to the reliability proven over decades and the capability of supporting a variety of missions.

In 2023, a record total of 223 orbital launch attempts were made, with 211 missions made it to orbit. Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Vandenberg Space Force Base, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, and Xichang Satellite Launch Center serve as a major spaceport for orbital launches.

Ground-based and sea-based spaceports both have their advantages and disadvantages, making one more suitable for a specific mission than the other. But with the function of launching rockets and their payload into orbit, having more spaceport options available also means that we can make space more accessible to everyone.

Located near the equator, Thailand is one of the prime locations where space launch could maximize the use of Earth's rotational speed. Spaceports in Thailand can launch missions toward multiple launch azimuth and could be a huge benefit to the Thai space industry and its economy.

With this opportunity, Thailand's Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), in collaboration with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), is currently exploring the possibility of having a spaceport in Thailand. By conducting an in-depth study and research of suitable locations, environmental impact, infrastructures, and financial factors of having a spaceport. To ensure the best for the future of the Thai space industry.

TAG: Spaceport
amorn.pet 15/2/2024 792 0
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