First homemade radar satellite to go into space next year

By Hai Minh   January 21, 2024 | 08:59 pm PT
First homemade radar satellite to go into space next year
An artist's impression of Vietnamese radar satellite LOTUSat-1 in space. Photo by Vietnam National Space Center
Vietnam will launch its first ever indigenous weather satellite early next year to provide early warnings against natural disasters.

LOTUSat-1, which is being built with assistance from Japanese engineers, is expected to be completed in March, Le Xuan Huy, deputy general director of Vietnam National Space Center, said.

It is part of the Natural Disaster and Climate Change Prevention project undertaken by the center.

Fabrication of the satellite began in September 2012 at the center, which is in the Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park in Hanoi.

The satellite will use a sensor that uses radio waves to observe the Earth, and thus function independently of a light source.

That means it can function 24x7, a clear advantage over satellites using optical sensors, which can only function in daylight.

Huy said radar satellites can take pictures in all weather conditions, cloudy, foggy or low-light.

The 600-kilogram satellite will have an image resolution of one meter.

It will gather information about storms and other phenomena that affect Vietnam every year.

The satellite will cover the whole of the Vietnamese land mass and help reduce the damage caused by natural disasters by 10%.

The ground control system for the launch will be completed by September this year at the hi-tech park.

To operate the satellite, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) signed an agreement with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) last November.

This cooperation agreement between VAST and JAXA will be the basis for the two sides to share experiences in operating and exploiting LOTUSat-1 satellites in orbit to improve the efficiency of using the Vietnam National Space Center; contributing to promoting scientific and technological cooperation between Vietnam and Japan, tightening the comprehensive strategic partnership that has just been established between the two countries.

With the support of JAXA, VAST engineers have built three micro-satellites, PicoDragon for earth observation and Nano Dragon and MicroDragon for maritime observation.

All three were launched into orbit from Japan in 2013, 2019 and 2021, respectively.

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