SEOUL, South Korea — Thailand is moving to enact the Space Activities Act, legislation that would establish a new state body committed to drawing space policies and lay the groundwork for  promoting the country’s space-related economy and technologies.

The Thai Cabinet approved a draft version of the act July 13, according to local reports. For the bill to become law, it has to win endorsement from the Council of State and the Parliament.

“The law would bring benefits to the country in a wide range both economically and socially as a foundation for the country’s ‘New Space Economy,’” said Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation Minister Anek Laothamatas following the approval. “It will also promote cooperation and investment among domestic and overseas parties in the space industry that could benefit the country both economically and socially.”

The minister added the law will “help Thailand catch up with rapidly growing space technology and provide an opportunity for global space institutes to transfer their knowledge and experience to Thai personnel at professional, college and school levels.” 

The bill mandates the Southeast Asian country to set up the National Space Policy Committee, chaired by the prime minister, to draw up the nation’s space policies, and the National Space Activities Office to assist the committee. The latter’s director will be empowered to appoint officials of both organizations.

Thailand has over 35,000 businesses linked to space and related industries, whose collective annual revenue is estimated at 56,122 million baht ($1.67 billion), according to the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, a Thai space research institute.

In December 2020, the science minister unveiled an ambitious goal of “building and launching Thailand’s first indigenous lunar exploration spacecraft within seven years.” 

Park Si-soo covers space industries in South Korea, Japan and other Asian countries. Park worked at The Korea Times — South Korea's leading English language newspaper — from 2007 to 2020. He earned a master’s degree in science journalism from Korea...