Launch of Vietnam's 3rd satellite delayed

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The launch of Vietnam's third satellite will be delayed for more preparations, although local officials previously claimed everything was ready.

In its latest announcement, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology's Small Satellite Management Board said that VNREDSat-1's dispatch will be delayed until at least April 24, Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper reported on Thursday.

That is only the soonest possible date, as the exact date and time will be chosen by the French-owned National Centre for Space Studies, which manages the Kourou space center in French Guiana, from where the Vietnamese satellite will blast off.

The Earth observation satellite was previously expected to be launched between April 18 and 20.

However, its manufacturer, the European-owned Astrium Satellites and, its launcher, French-owned Arianespace, decided to delay it for more tests on the launch rocket.

The postponement was also said to benefit VNREDSat-1 and two other satellites from Europe and Russia that are slated to be launched with it. They will have more time for testing and assessment at Kourou, where they are currently stationed.

Built at the cost of US$75.5 million, of which $72.5 million was a loan by France in the form of official development assistance, VNREDSat-1 will have a life span of five years.

It is able to take photographs of the Earth, helping authorities forecast climate change and disasters, especially floods, wildfires, and oil spills.

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It can also provide high-definition photos that allow agencies to monitor forests and agricultural lands, explore for minerals, and keep track of fish shoals.

For the operation of its third satellite, Vietnam has built three earth stations and sent 20 engineers to Toulouse to be trained in operating related systems.

The country launched its earlier satellites, Vinasat-1 and Vinasat-2, in 2008 and last year, respectively.

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