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Vietnam to launch new satellite into space

Released at: 13:57, 17/04/2018

Vietnam to launch new satellite into space

Photo: Vietnam National Space Centre

Micro Dragon satellite expected to be launched late this year.

by Le Diem

After receiving a safety license from authorized agencies in Japan working on it, the Micro Dragon satellite will be launched into orbit late this year on the Epsilon rocket, made by Japan’s IHI Aerospace, according to the Vietnam National Space Center (VNSC) at the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology.

Created in 2013 and tested successfully in 2017 by 36 VNSC engineers who studied space technology in Japan, Micro Dragon is an earth observation satellite that weighs 50 kg and measures 50 x 50 x 50cm. Its mission is to observe coastal sea areas to assess water quality, locate fisheries resources, and monitor changes in coastal waters to assist Vietnam’s aquaculture industry. It will also receive sensory signals from Earth and then transfer data to different places to test new technology like atomic oxygen and antimony tin oxide coating solar cells.

Micro Dragon is the second satellite made by Vietnam, following Pico Dragon, a 1-kg satellite measuring 10 x 10 x 11.35cm and also created by VNSC engineers. It was launched into space in November 2013 and has operated successfully. The country had launched four satellites into space from 2008 to 2013, but they were manufactured by foreign companies.

After Micro Dragon, Vietnam plans to create the LOTUSat-1 and LOTUSat-2 satellites with advanced radar technology and weighing about 600 kg and measuring 1.5m x 1.5m x 3m each; almost 12-times bigger than Micro Dragon, which is expected to work in the space for some five years. It is the largest investment on a science and technology project by Vietnam, with $600 million outlaid.

After their launch, the LOTUSat-1 and LOTUSat-2 satellites will provide early warning of natural disasters and climate change and monitor fish movements for the fishery sector and national security.

Each year, Vietnam loses 1.5-2.2 per cent of GDP from the effect of natural disasters, or some $3 billion. The launch of LOTUSat-1 and LOTUSat-2 is expected to minimize damage caused by natural disasters. Experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said the two satellites will provide data that will increase the efficiency of agricultural production, saving $150 million a year from the reduction of damage caused by natural disasters.   

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