No rocket science: Space and satellite business in Thailand

“By 2020, Thailand is ready to open the skies for satellite business” -NBTC

Space industry covers business activities related to the manufacturing of components that go into Earth’s orbit or beyond. It covers the full range of activities and resources that create and provide value and benefits in the course of exploring, understanding, managing, and utilizing space. The main sectors are satellite and their subsystems manufacture, including satellite environment testing, ground equipment manufacturing, and service sector, as well as rocket-launch services, vehicle manufacturing, and subsystem manufacturing.

New Thai legislation: The NBTC Act has been enforced at the end of 2019 and provides a more solid basis for satellite businesses in Thailand. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission acts as the sole agency governing all related satellite businesses. It took this over from the Digital Economy and Society Ministry, which managed a cumbersome concession regime for more than three decades. The new liberalized system promises attractive business opportunities even for foreign investors.

Licenses instead of concessions: Under the new NBTC framework, private satellite investments need a licensing for (i) the sky operation, (ii) landing rights, (iii) the orbital slot space and (iv) the ground segment business. as transmission antennas and equipment for converting signals to an internet protocol signal for terrestrial connectivity. The provided orbital slot space is reserved by the NBTC from the International Telecommunication Union. The ITU, formerly International Telegraph Union is the oldest global international organization and a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies.

Thailand’s NASA: Thailand’s Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, is a Thai space agency and space research organization. It is responsible for remote sensing and technology development satellites. GISTDA operates the satellites Cosmo-SkyMed, KOMPSAT, LANDSAT-5, RADARSAT-2, and Thaichote. Another stakeholder in Thailand’s satellite business is the National Science and Technology Development Agency. NSTDA is a government agency established to promote the development of science and technology for Thailand. It operates autonomously with guidance and support of policies set by the National Science and Technology Development Board.


“Orbital slots will be rented out on a first-come, first-served basis”

PUGNATORIUS Ltd. is the Bangkok-based specialist provider of legal services and tax advice on foreign investments in Thailand’s manufacturing and service industries as well as property acquisitions and developments. Sophisticated solutions in a complex legal environment. Serious legal and tax advice in the land of smile.

The liberalization of competition in the satellite business creates opportunities for foreign satellite companies in space as well as the ground segment. To develop Thai satellites, to bring foreign satellites and payload into space, to use foreign satellite channels in Thailand, to develop and launch space missions are just a few of new business opportunities. The law firm is pleased to discuss new ideas and ventures and to offer efficient support.

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Disclaimer: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. This low-resolution high-level outlook constitutes neither legal advice, nor an attorney-client relationship, nor equips with the insights, tools or skills to do this without the Bangkok investment law firm.

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