Myanmar to soon launch its first-ever satellite

Japan launched Sunday a rocket carrying a government intelligence-gathering satellite. Photo: Kyodo. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NAY PYI TAW, Jul 24, 2020, WION. Myanmar will soon launch its first-ever satellite, joining an unlikely coalition of nascent space nations aiming to protect millions from environmental disasters. It is the first space venture for Myanmar, the least economically developed country in a consortium that includes the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, WION reported.

The future “super constellation” of micro-satellites from nine Asian countries will track typhoons, seismic activity and water flows, as well as provide data on land use, the growth of crops and disease outbreaks.

The target is to launch around five micro-satellites every year, each weighing under 100 kilograms and with a lifespan of five years, until the consortium controls around 50 devices in orbit.

Myanmar’s first contribution will cost a relatively non-astronomical $16 million — a fraction of the $100 million bill or more for conventional satellites.

The launch will be overseas, but Myanmar will have its own ground control centre, working alongside a counterpart in Japan.

The satellites will also track changes in land use, from urban development to deforestation and illegal mining.

The launches should also deliver a decent payback; it is estimated every dollar the US spends in space returns up to $40 to the economy.

Myanmar’s first batch of seven aerospace engineers have had their bags packed for several months, ready to fly to Japan for pre-launch development.

But their travel plans are still on hold, stymied by coronavirus border closures — and time is tight with Myanmar’s first launch slated for early 2021.

(with inputs from AFP)

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