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Falling satellite carrier expected to land in sea off Phang Nga

Boats and aircraft passing through the Andaman Sea region have been warned to watch out for parts of a satellite-launch vehicle falling to earth, the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) said yesterday.

The agency announced that at least one part of GSLV-D5-II, India's Geosynchronous Satellite-Launch Vehicle, could fall very close to Thailand, because it will pass over Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Krabi, Phuket, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang and Phatthalung, during the launch of India's communications satellite GSAT-14, between December 15 and January 14.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to launch the communication satellite from its Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) with the help of GSLV-D5-II. The launch vehicle will then break up and fall to earth. The launch date has not yet been finalised, as the ISRO has to take into account weather conditions and some other relevant factors.

The GISTDA confirmed that it received information about the satellite launch from the Indian government and used the information to project the launch trajectory.

"We believe one of the falling parts from the satellite vehicle will fall about 260 kilometres off Phang Nga's coast and may be in an exclusive economic zone," the GISTDA said.

It has advised boats and planes to be on alert, if they are passing through, or are close to that particular zone. According to the GISTDA land-based people are not at risk. The GISTDA is said it was receiving regular updates from Indian government on its satellite-launch plan.


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