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New Year Message from the APRSAF member's countries for activities in 2009

New Year Message from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia
- Dr. Miriam Baltuck, Chair of the Australian Space Exploration Working Group and Director of the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, CSIRO

The year 2009 will be a year for setting the stage for Australia's space activities over the next several years. In 2008, the Australian Senate Economics Committee conducted an inquiry into The Current State of Australia's Space Science & Industry Sector (http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/economics_ctte/space_08/index.htm). The final report recommends a number of measures to strengthen and coordinate Australia's space activities. In the same timeframe, the Australian Academy of Sciences and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering have teamed up to develop a Decadal Strategy for Earth Observation. CSIRO is on the steering committee of both these important national undertakings. Australia has continued to participate in the International Space Exploration Working Group and to explore possible bilateral and multilateral partnerships in this area; CSIRO is a participant in a Cornell University-led but multinational-participant SMEX mission proposal to NASA, to be decided in early 2009. In late 2008, CSIRO's space science, operations and technology development programs were reorganized to sit within the same portfolio for improved coordination of space activities within the Organization.

The most mature area of Australia's space science and technology activities is Earth observation, a natural fit for a country of our size and population. As we define our future activities in this arena it is clear that continued international cooperation in Earth observation is key to our success as stewards of our land and responsible citizens of our planet. We look forward to continued pursuit of these with our APRSAF colleagues in 2009.


New Year Message from National Information Technology Institute Pvt. Ltd (NITI), Nepal
Mr. Pramod Pradhan, President of the NITI

My journey with Remote Sensing and GIS stared 25 year ago at AIT Bangkok when I was entrusted with system support of Image Analysis hardware. Initially I was involved as a passive partner to help students and colleagues seeking help. But this involvement meant I had close interaction with renowned Japanese professors at AIT in the following years. From them I learned about punctuality and work-devotion, which greatly affected my future endeavors and way of working.

In 1986, when I moved to ICIMOD Nepal, I was entrusted with building RS/GIS capacity in partner institutions in Hindu Kush Himalaya. Many people within ICIMOD and partner institutions believed that such advanced technologies were not needed in this very poor and inaccessible region. But, many of our friends from Austria, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Thailand, and the USA, besides those from our own region, had a strong belief that only such technology could help our governments and institutions to develop the region.

As time passes, we tend to forget the many good things done by our friends for the region. Many friends who supported our efforts in proliferating RS/GIS in the region are no longer with us, but we will always owe them a debt of gratitude. I personally believe that without the support of institutions like NASDA (JAXA) and RESTEC from Japan, ESRI and ERDAS Inc. from the USA, as well as Austrian, French, German and Japanese Institutions and ADB and UNEP, it would have been almost impossible to realize the proliferation of these technologies in the HKH Region. Equally I believe that without the support of diligent professional colleagues at the partner institutions in the HKH region we would not have achieved such success. Today, thanks are due to them, because ICIMOD is known as the leading centre for proliferating RS/GIS in the region.

I had thought my departure from ICIMOD at the end of 2000 would bring a memorable end to my Journey with RS/GIS, but no - it was the other way. Promotion of RS/GIS through seminars, workshops, training, and via academic institutions started to become routine. However, the greatest difficulty that surfaced was a resource crunch. Most national institutions do not have enough resources allocated for these technologies and applications. Sadly the institutions that had the privilege of assisting national institutions by providing software and data (received generously) have been unable to do continue doing so, probably also because of a lack of resources.

In this context, the availability of affordable satellite images from institutions like JAXA and RESTEC (ALOS Data) has come as a great relief to our national institutions and the region. Equally important is the continuous and sincere effort of APRSAF which ensures greater awareness on the part of our executives and professionals. Their short and rigorous training programs have helped in generating excellent national professionals who are capable of using the technology efficiently and fervently.

At this juncture of the New Year 2009, I just wish good health, prosperity and long-lasting friendship to all my friends who have been on this entire trip with me in the Journey of Remote Sensing and GIS. And I do sincerely thank them all from the bottom of my heart and hope that someday I will be able to welcome them all in Nepal and the region again.
BEST WISHES TO YOU ALL MY DEAR APRSAF FRIENDS AND FAMILIES AND HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009.


New Year Message from Geo-informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), Thailand
-General Dr. Vichit Satharanond, Chairman of GISTDA Executive Board

Dear APRSAF News Readers,

It is a great honor for me to cordially greet you here again in APRSAF News. It is my wish that 2009 will bring many opportunities for people to explore the joys that life has to offer.

In 2008, Thailand's Geo-informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) successfully launched the first Thailand Earth Observation Satellite (THEOS) on October 1, 2008 on a Dnepr launcher from Yasny, Russia. The satellite was maneuvered into a low, Earth polar, sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of around 822 kilometers. The repeat cycle is every 26 days and the satellite has a nominal life of 5 years.

The first set of THEOS images were taken over Bangkok, Phuket Island, and some other areas around the world. The Image Quality Team found from an initial assessment that these images had good geometric and radiometric qualities.

THEOS data can be used for various applications such as agriculture, land use, natural resource management, security, development planning, disaster monitoring and rehabilitation. GISTDA will focus on the promotion of THEOS applications both in Thailand and other countries especially in the Asia-Pacific region starting with our neighboring countries. GISTDA tentatively plans to organize a seminar for THEOS in Vietnam and Laos in the near future.

As I promised in 2008 that GISTDA would continue to participate in and contribute to the APRSAF forum in 2009, GISTDA therefore will take great pleasure in hosting APRSAF-16, tentatively to be held in Phuket by the end of this year.
I hope this message will inspire people to have new ideas for enriching the cooperation in the area of space and applications, not only between Thailand and Japan, but also among our neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region.

Once again, I hope this year proves to be a year of pleasure and discovery.
Happy New Year 2009.

Thank you.


New Year Message from Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), Korea
-Dr. Chin-Young Hwang, Director of the Policy & International Relations Division, KARI

Wishing much peace, love, health and happiness to all in 2009!

The year 2009 is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). South Korea has several important events taking place this year including the launch of Korea's first space launch vehicle, KSLV-I; the launch of Korea's first developed geostationary satellite, COMS; and the 60th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) which will be held in Daejeon, South Korea.

South Korea will also focus on international cooperation this year such as the Sentinel Asia program, the APRSAF-satellite joint development program, and the International Lunar Network (ILN) program. We are considering the development of various programs to promote international cooperation in this region including training programs for engineers and researchers in the satellite applications field. South Korea will participate in the Asia-Pacific region programs for climate change and disaster management using satellite applications technology which has been accumulated over the past 20 years. South Korea welcomes bi-lateral and multi-lateral talks for space cooperation to promote better relations between it and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

We do hope that the year 2009 will be an excellent opportunity for all APRSAF members to engage in space cooperation, and we hope to see all APRSAF members at the 60th IAC this October in Daejeon.

Best wishes for the prosperity of APRSAF!
KARI Website: https://www.kari.re.kr/index1.asp

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