Battery problems spell finis to 1st Vietnam-made satellite

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Vietnam's first indigenous satellite, F1 (middle), being launched into space October 4 together with Japanese and American satellites.

The first Vietnamese-made satellite has failed to send signals in the one month since its launch due to possible battery problems, its designer FPT University said in a statement Thursday.

It said F1 could have a problem with its charging circuit, which has prevented it from getting power from the solar cells, news website VnEpxress said.

F1 was launched into space from the International Space Station in Japan on October 4.

Scientists monitoring it at the university have not received any signals from F1 since.

The satellite is now orbiting around 405 kilometers from Earth and being observed by the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

FPT experts are working with their US counterparts to obtain information and simulate the satellite in the laboratory to pinpoint the problems.

"We will send instructions to F1 to restart its control system," Vu Trong Thu, a university spokesman, said.

"But we believe there is little chance it can receive our signals."

The satellite is gradually descending to Earth, and experts said it would remain in space for another four months before it burns up in the atmosphere.

F1, a 10-cubic-centimeter satellite weighing 1 kg, was launched along with four others from the US and Japan.

It took around VND4 billion (US$191,800) and more than two years to build, and was designed to take photographs and transmit other data to Earth.

Thu said a lot of knowledge and experience has been gained from the failure.

The university wants to cooperate with local and overseas partners to build more satellites for maritime and forest observation.

Vietnam has two larger satellites in space, both built by US weapons maker Lockheed Martin Corporation.

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