Global Space Business Bulletin

ASEAN – Association of Southeast Asian Nations – is an organization of profound significance for the future – strategically, economically, and diplomatically. ASEAN is constituted by representatives from ten Southeast Asian Countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – into one organization.

Many of the Southeast Asian countries started investing in space technology since few decades ago. Indonesia, for example, established its space agency NATIONAL INSTITUE OF AERONAUTICS AND SPACE, Indonesian: LEMBAGA PENERBANGAN DAN ANTARIKSA NASIONAL- LAPAN) was established in 1963. For its part, Thailand in 1971 established a ground-receiving station to utilise data from the Earth Resources Technology Satellite-ERTS-1 which later named as LANDSAT-1 by UNITED NATIONS SPACE AGENCY NASA; the ground-receiving station was the first in Southeast Asia. In 1979, Vietnam sent its first citizen to space through the Soviet Union’s Interkosmos programme.

According to a report by Euroconsult ( An international Consulting and research firm specialising in Space Activities) as quoted in newspaper reports[iv], in 2012, Vietnam was the largest spender within the ASEAN group with US$93 million, followed by Laos (US$87 million), Indonesia (US$38 million), Thailand (US$20 million), and Malaysia (US$18 million).

The space programmes of the various Southeast Asian countries share common characteristics. For one, international cooperation plays a key role in the development of these space programmes. These countries recognize the importance of collaborating with nations that have logged in more years in space activities, have the financial resources and skills, and are willing to assist in nurturing the indigenous programmes of countries with less resources.

These countries are spending huge sums of money to develop indigenous space mission/programmes.