Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said France will also provide aid for the VNREDSat-1 project, which would be worth an estimated 100 million dollars, according the English-language Vietnam News daily.

Vietnam last April celebrated the launch of its first satellite, the 300 million dollar Vinasat-1, which was made by US company Lockheed Martin to transmit telecommunication, Internet, radio and TV signals.

The report did not specify which companies would build or launch the satellite.

VNREDSat-1 is scheduled to be operational around 2012 and would help Vietnam map its natural resources and provide information about the environment and natural disasters, the newspaper said.

The project would help free Vietnam from relying on images provided by other countries, National Space Science and Technology Programme chairman Nguyen Khoa Son was quoted as saying by the daily.

Agence France Presse - January 8, 2009