This will be the third satellite invested in by Vietnam, after Vinasat-1 and Vinasat-2. While the previous two versions mainly serve telecom business and capacity leasing, the third will be launched for scientific research.

Bui TrongTuyen, vice president of the Space Technology Institute, informed the Earth observation satellite will be named VNREDSat-lA, and is scheduled for launch in April or early in the second quarter,.depending on its progress and weather conditions,

French satellite manufacturer Astrium Satellites has been chosen as the general contractor. Besides, the institute intends to use the satellite launch service of Ariane- space, which successfully sent Vinasat-1 and Vinasat-2 into space.”The institute is following the necessary procedures for approval of the prime minister on this satellite launch plan. If approved, the plan will soon be implemented;’ said Tuyen.

Astrium Satellites will supply a 120-kilo satellite equipped with information receiving and satellite control devices. In addition, the firm will provide training for 15 Vietnamese engineers at its satellite production facility in Toulouse, France.

After going.into space, the satellite will operate in a Sun-synchronous orbit, at the height of 670 kilometers from the Earth. It will pass many latitudes at the same time, observing the changes over time of a certain point on the Earth based on the changes of light when it circles the Earth.

Tuyen said the prime minister had assigned his institute to develop a project for a natural resource, environment and disaster observation satellite funded by official development assistance (ODA) of France.

The Saigon Times Daily - January 10, 2013