Associate Professor Dr. Pham Anh Tuan, Director of the Vietnam National Satellite Center, has confirmed that an aerospace center is being built in the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park, which would serve as the “launching pad” for the Vietnam’s aerospace industry.

Vietnam does not entertain the illusion that it would have the powerful space agencies like NASA of the US, which is 10 times bigger than the center being built in Vietnam with thousands of workers, or JASA of Japan.

Tuan said clear goals have been set up for the space technology program. In the immediate time, it strives to build the satellites with the weight of less than 1,000 tons and utilize them.

If the work can be fulfilled by 2020, Vietnam would have the right to make a declaration in the world that it has the leading aerospace infrastructure and technology in ASEAN.

The leading positions now belong to Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Vietnam Space Center is expected to comprise of the Training Center, Center for Research and Development, Satellite Operations Center, the Center for Integrated Test Satellite, Observatory.

Local newspapers have reported that Vietnam plans to launch the first radar remote sensing satellite in 2017 and the second one in 2020.

The first satellite would be made by Vietnamese and Japanese experts, while the second one would be manufactured by Vietnamese in the Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park.

Tuan has confirmed the news, saying that if everything goes smoothly, the first satellite would be launched by the fourth quarter of 2017.

After that, when the infrastructure items of the National Satellite Center in Hoa Lac Park get completed, Vietnam would begin making the second satellite after mastering the technology when creating the first one.

Collaborating on this, Tuan said that the idea of the design would be put forward by Vietnam. However, Vietnam would still need the assistance by Japanese experts for the research period. And finally, the installation, integration and testing would be carried out in Vietnam.

It is expected that the second satellite would be launched into the universe by December 2020 or the first quarter of 2012 at the latest.

An ambitious development program has been set up for the Vietnam Aerospace Center. It needs to successfully make NanoDragon 10kg by 2016, make MicroDragon 50kg by 2018 and Lotusat 2 500kg by 2020.

The construction of the aerospace was kicked off in the Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park in Hanoi in September 2012. The southern brand of the center was opened in 2013, while the branch in the central region would be set up in 2014. It is expected that the national satellite center would gather 250 workers by 2020.

Though keeping optimistic about the future of the Vietnam’s space industry, Tuan admitted that the space industry development program is facing a big difficulty - the lack of the qualified labor force. No school in Vietnam can produce engineers for the space industry.

Therefore, the national satellite center has been trying to train workers itself by sending workers to the training courses in Vietnam and Japan. To date, 36 engineers have been trained in Japan.

By Tia Sang - VietNamNet Bridge - Feburary 27, 2014