Thailand’s government approves new space law

The new colonial movement: The cabinet of Thailand has approved a new space law that will establish a space agency and establish a regulatory framework for both its private and public space industry.

The core principles included the planning of a policy to support both state and public sector participation in a “new space economy”, the creation of a national space policy committee to draw up space policy. The bill also sets up a national space administration agency to perform secretarial tasks for the national space policy committee, with a director that will have the power to appoint officials.

As the language of the bill is not available, it is unclear exactly what the bill does, other than establish a government framework for Thailand’s space industry. Its passage however illustrates the growing international passion for joining the new commercial effort in space. Thailand apparently does not wish to be left behind.

Thailand government proposes space program

The new colonial movement: In an effort to stimulate and diversify their economy, the Thailand government has proposed a space program whose long term goal will be sending an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon.

[The Minister for Education, Science, Research and Innovation Anek Laothamatas] on Thursday outlined a plan to develop, first of all, advanced satellites in the 50 kg to 100 kg range which the kingdom will launch into orbit. This will take five years.

He then explained that Thailand will aim to build a spacecraft which can travel to the moon and enter into lunar orbit. This will take a further three years. ‘The new economy of space travel will be a way for Thailand to overcome the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and then to escape the middle-income trap, and the ministry will embrace creativity and innovation,’ Minister Anek disclosed.

The plan is expected to be based on the use of a xenon ion thruster rocket used by NASA and a 300 kg spacecraft which can be launched effectively out of the earth’s orbit. It would then travel to the moon at 11km per hour. Once there, it would slow to 2km per hour and enter the moon’s orbit.

The article is essentially a propaganda puff piece for this minister and his proposal. Whether it actually flies is unknown, as it appears right now to mostly be a vehicle for this guy to build his own government empire rather than actually accomplish anything. I was especially amused by this quote from the article, based on this education minister’s goals:

So this is why Thailand is keen to develop its credentials in the race to space as well as other social reforms currently being introduced by the government such as greater rights for the LGBT community, welfare schemes, a move this week to liberalise the kingdom’s abortion laws and radical plans to update the education system with an emphasis on English. [emphasis mine]

Yeah, right, space technology falls right in line with LGBT rights. Forgive me if I am skeptical.

All thirteen trapped cavers rescued alive!

Miracles happen: Cave divers today successfully rescued the last four boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

All 12 members of a Thai youth football team and their coach have been brought safely out of the cave in northern Thailand. The final five members rescued join eight team members taken to hospital on Sunday and Monday and said to be doing well. Each person was pulled through the cave by expert divers. The last Navy Seals – three divers and a doctor – are out of the cave, the rescue chief says.

As I said, this is a miracle. The press is likely going to focus on the kids and their coach, but the real heroes are the cave divers who risked their lives, with one man dying, to save these children.

Four more boys rescued from cave in Thailand

Link here.

Keep your fingers crossed. What I did not mention yesterday in describing the dangers of cave diving was the truly courageous work of the divers to find these boys. Caving diving is mostly done blind. The first person in can sometimes see, but very quickly the silt reduces visibility to zero. To make sure divers can find their way back, they lay a lifeline as they go.

There had not been a lifeline to the passages where the boys were found, prior to this rescue effort. To have laid out a lifeline in passages almost two-thirds of a mile long, so quickly, speaks volumes for the courage and skills of the cave divers here. It is also why I am not surprised one diver died in the effort.

Four of thirteen trapped Thai cavers rescued

Divers yesterday have managed to rescue four boys from the Thai soccer team that have been trapped underground by rising cave waters.

The first boy rescued exited the cave 5:40 p.m. local time, followed by three of his team members shortly after, Chiang Rai provincial acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said in a Sunday night news conference. The boys traveled 0.62 miles underwater before they reached safety.

They were taken to the hospital — three by helicopter and one by ambulance — once they were out of the cave.

This is truly a heroic and miraculous rescue effort. The upper levels of the cave the boys are trapped within are likely to eventually fill with water before the rainy season ends in October. None have ever dived before, and this isn’t diving but cave diving, possibly the most dangerous sport anywhere on Earth. In fact, an Apollo astronaut on the Moon is doing something less dangerous.

That they have gotten four boys out so far is good news. We mustn’t count our chickens yet. Traveling two-thirds of a mile underwater in a cave, with likely zero visibility, is not trivial, even with two divers to guide the boy every step of the way. One rescue diver has already died in this effort. The remaining eight boys and soccer coach face a daunting challenge.

One more note: Elon Musk yesterday announced that he is sending some of his engineers to Thailand to help. Some reports indicated he was building a submersible, but I do not think those are right. This article describes how they are helping, and it mostly has to do with helping with the pumping and other ground issues related to Musk’s tunnel boring company.