Bangkok: The US space agency NASA today cancelled a major climate study research mission it had hoped to base at a Thai military airbase after Bangkok refused to endorse the project.
" NASA cancelled the SEAC4RS mission, which was scheduled to begin in August 2012, due to the absence of necessary approvals by regional authorities in the timeframe necessary to support the mission`s planned deployment and scientific observation window", a statement issued by NASA said.
The space agency`s request to use the U-Tapao Thai airbase -- about 190 kilometres sout heast of Bangkok-- has faced opposition from critics who apprehended it could be a cover for military purposes.
The base was built by the Americans for its forces to use during the Vietnam war.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Yingluck`s Shinawatra`s Cabinet decided to delay taking a decision to allow NASA to use the airbase for its studies, instead saying that the matter would be debated when Parliament convened in August.
NASA had said the request for use of the airport for scientific studies in August and September would be withdrawn if approval was not given by June 26, because of the need to move in equipment ahead of the project.
The parliament is in recess and not scheduled to resume until August.
The project called the `Southeast Asia Composition, Cloud, Climate Coupling Regional Study` was to probe a vast expanse of the Southeast Asian atmosphere from top to bottom during the monsoon using satellites, aircraft and ground missions in August and September.