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Kanchana Kanchanasut
Asian Institute of Technology

When Profs Jun Murai and Suguru Yamaguchi first talked to me about their grand plan of having our own satellite network as a laboratory for researchers, I never thought their grand dream could be realized. They talked about research plans comprising setting up the testbed and addressing operational issues plus research at the end. Their plan would span over so many years that I thought my patience would not last that long. Any how, I felt that it was better to do real work which would benefit AIT and Thailand than just doing pure paper research, so I decided to put my effort into the AI3.

First question for me was where to find money? I had to find convincing arguments for my department chair and my school dean to get funding for our ground station. Then came the most difficult 18 months which I had to struggle with the authority to obtain our license to operate a Ku-Band JCSAT3 ground station for education and research purposes. We finally succeeded. Then we found that our purchase order for our ODU made by one of our colleagues was so specific that one component of the equipment had to be tailored made adding further and further delay. The effort in getting through this phase was proven yet another difficult step till the equipment manufacturer decided to fly an engineer with the equipment to AIT and installed our outdoor station properly in getting everything ready for our inauguration on the night where Hong Kong was returned to China. We, of course, gladly received the first IP packet on the AI3 link bringing us the broadcast of the historical event.

During above period of our struggle, we received numerous help and support from the early AI3 team -- Izu, Komiya and Baba. We enjoyed the AI3 meetings and many opportunities to meet our colleagues from other countries two to three times a year. We worked as partners and learned from one another.

As the group is getting bigger and bigger, human interactions may lessen, special attention should be paid the promote research partnerships to keep alive the early spirit of the AI3.

Wishing the AI3 a great future!