Thai – German relation wafts as 40-meter Radio Telescope pinpointed in Chiang Mai

17 March 2017

MOST, Bangkok, Thailand

The Contract of Procurement was inked earlier last week between the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Public Organization) and MT Mechatronics GmbH, Germany to entail the construction of 40-meter Radio Telescope in Northern Thailand.


        The Contract Signing Ceremony between two parties was held at the Ministry of Science and Technology in Bangkok, Thailand. Attended by His Excellency Peter Prügel – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bangkok, Mr. Somchai Tiamboonprasert – Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Thailand as witnesses as well as Mr. Hagen Dirksen – German Honorary Consul, Chiang Mai. The signatory from MT Mechatronics GmbH was represented by Mr. Thomas Zimmerer – Senior Vice President Business Development, Sales & Marketing, while Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum – NARIT Executive Director led Team NARIT together with Dr. Saran Poshyachinda – Deputy Director.



        The effort to initiate this cutting-edge project to develop national infrastructures in radio astronomy has recently been approved by the Royal Thai Government via Cabinet Consensus for NARIT to proceed. Beginning with various site inspections across Northern Thailand, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), procurement, construction to operation. The Radio Telescope will be located in the prospect area adjacent to Reservoir 7 within the vicinity of Huay Hong Khrai Royal Development Study Centre, in Doi Saket District, Chiang Mai, Thailand – the very province where NARIT Headquarters is located.



        The early stages of planning and drawing will be initiated as soon as this contract has been signed. While construction will begin by the end of 2017 and is expected to finish and go on full operation by January 2020. The attempt to link this first-of-a-kind Radio Telescope in Southeast Asia to the existing Very Long Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) across the globe including East Asian VLBI Network among China, Japan and South Korea, European VLBI Network, VLBA in northern America and Long Baseline Array & SKA low in Australia.



        The Thai Radio Astronomical Observatory (TRAO) Project is set to enhance, not only in astronomy, but in numerous aspects of sustainable development at national and regional levels from fostering new innovations, creating jobs, engineering instrumentation, gaining access for educational institutions and advanced laboratories to mention a few. While in the scientific fields, the new gigantic Radio Telescope will contribute directly to Astronomy & Astrometry, star forming region & molecular clouds, active galactic nuclei & cosmology to neutron stars & fundamental physics. It will also enable researchers to detect crustal and tectonic motion to weather and atmospheric science, microwave technology and promote government and industry collaborations as well as advanced training centre and academic supervision in specialized technical skills.