Govt seeks revival of Nasa project
Scheme useful for weather forecasts, disaster management, official saysThe government will by the middle of this month negotiate with Nasa about reviving its joint project to study climate conditions in the region, which would be useful for the country's weather forecasting and disaster management, but will seek greater input in the planning stage.
"We will not only send our scientists to join this project, but also want to have more participation in the decisions to designate the flight routes, the approach to collecting cloud and atmospheric data, the airbase that will be used for this mission or even the equipment that will be installed," Anond Snidvongs, director of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, said yesterday.
Science and Technology Minister Worawat Ua-apinyakul will lead senior officials to the US later this month to open a new round of discussions on the "Southeast Asia Composition, Cloud, Climate Coupling Regional Study".
"We have talked with Nasa at the ministerial level several times during the past few months after Nasa cancelled this project last year. This will be an unofficial negotiation round to insist that this project is still important for our country," Anond said.
"The Science and Technology Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry have always insisted to Nasa that this project is important for Thailand," he said.
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided to abort its research project into weather conditions in Thailand's skies because the Cabinet was unable to endorse its request to use the U-Tapao naval airbase by June last year and it ran out of time to make logistical preparations.
If Nasa does not agree with Thailand's conditions for this project, the government will not allow the space agency to use any airbase in the country to conduct any research.
"Even if Nasa uses an airbase in a neighbouring country, we will not allow them to survey or collect any data in our skies," he said.
He downplayed the national security issue, saying that all steps to continue this project have complied with the Constitution and have been explained to Parliament.
"It is not a big deal but the problem is that the government must create public confidence," he said.
The group of Thai officials and scientists will not only visit Nasa, but also Canada to study water management and strengthen collaboration in satellite technology.