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Japan to launch Vietnam-made satellite into space

By Dang Khoa   January 10, 2021 | 04:49 pm PT
Japan to launch Vietnam-made satellite into space
Vietnam's NanoDragron satellite (bottom right) on display. Photo by Tien Phong.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will be sending a micro-satellite built by Vietnamese engineers into orbit later this year.

JAXA will be launching 15 satellites into space this year as part of Japan's second experimental satellite program, including the micro-satellite NanoDragon developed and built by Vietnam National Space Center (VNSC), Le Xuan Huy, its deputy director, said, as cited by Tien Phong.

The satellite is the product of a nano-sized micro-satellite project for the 2016-2020 period.

Weighing more than four kilograms, the satellite will be used as an optical imaging device to test satellite positioning in space and to track and monitor ships at sea.

A Japanese company is also in the framework of testing NanoDragon's central onboard computer system.

Huy said VNSC is focusing on building facilities for assembly and testing, with the goal of developing a satellite weighing up to 180 kilograms.

He said the step-by-step mastery of satellite manufacturing would help Vietnam reduce its dependence on foreign partners, ensure safety, security, strengthen available satellite data and services, while serving economic development.

Japan sent the 50 kilogram Vietnamese satellite MicroDragon into space from Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southern Japan in January 2020.

It was used to observe Vietnam’s coast line, evaluate water quality, locate fishery resources and monitor changes to serve aquaculture, detect cloud coverage and aerosols, collect ground-based sensor signals and transmit them to stations on Earth.

Vietnam sent its first indigenous satellite into space in 2013. The one-kilogram PicoDragon remained in orbit for three months. The country had launched four prior satellites, all made by foreign companies.

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