Vietnam plans to launch its first remote sensing satellite by 2012, chairman of the national Research Program on Space Science and Technology Nguyen Khoa Son announced on Dec. 11 at this year’s Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-15).
“When the VNREDSAT-1 is operational by 2012, Vietnam will be able to take photographs of the Earth from outer space, which will help improve the efficiency of our natural resources management, environmental protection and disaster prevention,” Son said.
This is an important advance that Vietnam is making in developing space technology and science which has already begun with the country’s successful launch of its first telecommunication satellite VINASAT-1 in April this year, he stressed.
“Currently, to observe our country for the purpose of forecasting weather, protecting the environment and studying natural resources, we still have to buy images taken by satellites of foreign countries. It is very costly, in some urgent cases, we will be on the defensive and become dependent.”
“If we have our own satellite, we can respond more promptly to natural disasters and be more active in defence and security activities,” Son said.
Investments for the satellite-launching project, worth about US$100 million, includes funds to manufacture, launch, and control the satellite; build a control station; transfer technology and train experts. These funds would mostly come from official development assistance, he added.
“Many countries have expressed their willingness to cooperate with Vietnam on the project. We are actively discussing and seeking more partners who can provide both capital and technical assistance so that the pre-feasibility research can be conducted in the near future,” Son said.
The project, along with a strategy for space technology research and application by 2020, was approved in principle by the Prime Minister last year.