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Vietnam successfully launches first remote sensing satellite


19:08, May 07, 2013

HANOI, May 7 (Xinhua) -- After three days of delay due to the bad weather, Vietnam's first remote sensing satellite, VNRED Sat-1, was successfully launched Tuesday morning by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center, French Guiana, local media reported.

According to Tuoi Tre online, the earth observation satellite was launched by a Vega lightweight rocket at 9:06 a.m., Hanoi time.

It is said that 1 hour 57 minutes and 24 seconds after taking off, the satellite would activate its propulsion engine to make its way to sun synchronous orbit (SSO) at an altitude of nearly 670 km.

This is an event of significance which will open new development of Vietnam's space technology, state-run Vietnam News Agency quoted Professor Chau Van Minh, President of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) as saying.

In addition, the successful launching contributes to confirm Vietnam's integration into the world community, especially in the field of space exploitation for peace and interest of the human beings, he said.

Currently Vietnam has to buy satellite images from foreign countries at high prices and has to wait for one or two months to receive such images.

According to VAST, the VNRED Sat-1 was launched with two other space vehicles, including a 140-kg Proba-V satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) to map vegetation cover, and an 1.3-kg Estonian micro-satellite, ESTCube-1, to test an electric solar sail.

During its operation, VNRED Sat-1 will provide high-resolution satellite images that will serve social and economic development purposes, such as natural resources management, environmental protection, and natural disaster detection and control.

The satellite, which measures 600 mm x 570 mm x 500 mm and weighs 115 kg, was built at a total cost of 55.8 million euros (73 million U.S. dollars) from the French Government's Official Development Assistance (ODA) fund and 65 billion VND (around 3.2 million U.S. dollars) from the Vietnamese Government.

As scheduled, the first image on the earth will be captured within the next two days, and that on Vietnam will be transmitted one day later.

Vietnam will officially operate the VNRED Sat-1 after three months of testing operations with assessment and readjustment, reported the online VNExpress.

In 2008 and 2012, Vietnam launched two telecommunication satellites, Vinasat 1 and Vinasat 2, both of which are operating on a geostationary orbit at an altitude of about 35,800 km.

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