THEOS - assembly of optical system at Astrium. For the Thailand's earth observation system THEOS a contract was signed with the Thai Ministry for Science and Technologies and the Thai Space Travel Agency GISTDA, which includes the building and the starting of an optical satellite, the development of the ground stations required for operating and controlling the satellites in Thailand and the supply of most modern equipment for image archiving and processing. Launched on 1 October 2008 on board a Dnepr Rockot, the THEOS satellite is based on EADS Astrium's AstroSat500 generation of high-performance optical Earth observation satellites, which benefits from the company's extensive experience. Its payload features both high resolution in panchromatic mode (two metres) and wide field of view in multi-spectral mode (90km). The THEOS satellite operates in a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of around 820km. Its contractual lifetime is five years. As part of the THEOS contract, about 20 Thai engineers joined the EADS Astrium development team in Toulouse for more than two and a half years, receiving intensive and comprehensive space programme training. This training was completed in Thailand with intensive system operations training allowing these engineers to form the core of GISTDA's THEOS operations team responsible for daily in-orbit system operations. THEOS is fully owned and operated by GISTDA and provides Thailand with worldwide geo-referenced image products and image processing capabilities for applications in cartography, land use, agricultural monitoring, forestry management, coastal zone monitoring and flood risk management. THEOS provides access to any part of Thailand in less than two days.
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