The first satellites built by Myanmar and Japan may not be launched due to the Myanmar military changes.
According to various media sources, on March 13, Japan decided to temporarily suspend the first satellite jointly built by Myanmar and it.
Since 2012, Myanmar and Japan have started research on the launch of the satellite, and the two parties plan to launch the first satellite in 2021. Nine years later, Myanmar’s dream has come, and Japan temporarily suspends the satellite due to its inability to contact Myanmar.
The satellites that Myanmar is waiting to be launched are far away in Japan’s space experiment module.
Japan-Myanmar cooperation to make stars
In 2012, when Malaysia, Vietnam and other countries successively launched satellite applications, the satellite projects in Myanmar were deserted.
In the same year, Myanmar sought the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, which was selling commercial satellites to other countries, and discussed cooperation to launch two satellites for it.
On May 18, the first commercial satellite “Arirang 3” co-operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and South Korea was successfully launched.
Soon after, Japan and Myanmar formally announced the launch of a feasibility report study on cooperative launch of small remote sensing satellites.
It is reported that the project is supported by technology and personnel training provided by Japan, and the construction of two miniature remote sensing satellites weighing 50 kilograms each and 500 kilometers above the ground after launch.
In the future, once Japan successfully launches satellites, Myanmar will use it to complete natural disaster forecasting, mineral resource exploration, environmental protection forestry inspection, and farmland water conservancy remote sensing monitoring.
Due to various factors, Myanmar began a five-year study.
In 2017, Myanmar believes that the time is ripe and proposed a plan to develop its own satellite system, and will jointly form the Myanmar Space Agency with other organizations such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The first step to take the aviation dream is to launch the long-awaited star-making project with Japan.
With funding from the Myanmar government, Myanmar University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Hokkaido University and Tohoku University in Japan started cooperation that year to launch a remote sensing satellite manufacturing plan.
According to the contract, two Japanese universities are responsible for designing and manufacturing satellites, and Myanmar Aerospace Engineering University is responsible for building development facilities for satellite operation, observation and data analysis. At the same time, Myanmar will send 7 professionals and 7 students to Japan to learn about satellite construction, satellite technology and space technology.
According to the plan, Myanmar’s first satellite will consist of two microsatellites: the first satellite will be produced in Japan, and the second satellite will be produced locally by Burmese personnel who have returned from their studies.
In October 2020, the first satellite worth 15 million US dollars, MSATS-1, was completed in Japan and placed silently in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, waiting for its mission in February 2021.
Satellites parked on the space station
On February 20, 2021, MMSCTS-1, the first satellite carrying Myanmar’s hopes, took the Cygnus cargo spacecraft of NASA’s commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman to fly to the International Space Station 300 kilometers away.
Two days after the flight, Japan’s Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut Noguchi Satoshi captured the Cygnus cargo spacecraft, of which MMSTS-1 was placed in the experimental module of Japan’s “Nozomi”.
The satellite is in place and waiting to enter orbit, but the owner of MMSTS-1 has lost contact for many days due to the coup.
On February 1, the Myanmar military launched a coup d’etat due to dissatisfaction with the results of the election, detaining a number of high-ranking officials including the Myanmar State Counselor and the President, and declared the country to enter a one-year “state of emergency.”
In the “state of emergency”, Myanmar’s national television station was controlled by the military, and communication signals in many parts of the country were cut off. The 676,578 square kilometers of Myanmar became an information island.
Since then, officials from Hokkaido University in Japan were unable to contact Professor Kyi Thwin, the president of the Myanmar Aerospace Engineering University, and MMSATS-1 has been waiting for launch.
The launch time of MMSATS-1 is uncertain, and the space station is inherently small and cannot store a foreign satellite for a long time.
Secondly, even after the successful launch of MMSTS-1, its future use is also worrying.
The MMSTS-1 used for detection is equipped with a camera. If it is controlled by the Myanmar military after launch, it may be used for military purposes.
Officials from Hokkaido University stated that the contract between the two parties did not stipulate that the satellites could not be used for military purposes, which indirectly confirmed that MMSTS-1 can be used for military purposes.
Currently, Japan has decided to temporarily suspend MMSTS-1, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and a Japanese university are deciding what to do with this satellite.
The fate of MMSTS-1 in the future is still unknown, but what is certain is that Myanmar’s nine-year satellite plan will still be postponed.