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Made-in-Vietnam sea observation satellite gets set for final test

By Bich Ngoc   March 2, 2021 | 04:50 pm PT
Made-in-Vietnam sea observation satellite gets set for final test
An engineer at the Vietnam National Space Center (VNSC) works on the NanoDragon satellite. Photo by VNSC.
Micro-satellite NanoDragon, developed and built by the Vietnam National Space Center (VNSC), will go through a final test this month before it is put into orbit this September.

The satellite weighs four kilos and belongs to the CubeSat category, a type of miniaturized satellite for space research that is made up of multiple 10 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm modules.

NanoDragon will be delivered to Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan, for testing between March 8-22. The satellite will go through vibration test, shock test and thermal vacuum test, the last steps in the satellite’s hardware development, VNSC director Pham Anh Tuan said Tuesday.

After the test, it will go back to Vietnam, waiting for launch. Japan’s Epsilon rocket is expected to launch NanoDragon in September as part of the second "Innovative satellite technology demonstration" program.

The NanoDragon satellite that is almost completed. Photo by VNSC

The NanoDragon satellite that is almost completed. Photo by VNSC.

NanoDragon is the product of Vietnam's nano-sized micro-satellite project for the 2016-2020 period.

The satellite will be working at 520 kilometers high from the earth, with two main missions: tracking and monitoring vessels, and verifying the performance of the satellite attitude control system on orbit.

Japan sent the 50-kilogram Vietnamese satellite MicroDragon into space from Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southern Japan, in January 2019.

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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