NASA director asks Vietnam to join space race

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The director of the US space agency NASA suggested Vietnam introduce space technology its youth, especially college students, if it plans to make strides in the field.

Vietnam should include space technology as part of the curriculum offered to young scientists and students, Charles Bolden, general director of NASA, officially known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said during a visit with other experts to the Vietnam National Satellite Center on December 10.

Bolden said NASA offers six-month internships to US college students, who then resume their regular studies.

Vietnamese aerospace scientists should return to their colleges or universities to seek out students interested in space to provide them professional training or chances to become involved with an aerospace project, he recommended.

The 66-year-old director, who has made four flights into the space, said introducing young people to space sciences will help them mature.

He said NASA also set up centers resembling small museums where the public can see astronauts' clothing, models of spaceships and join forums to get closer to an issue that tends to be considered vaguely connected to real life.

Bolden said NASA is looking for other countries to cooperate in its mission, ordered by its president, to look for life on Mars and in the solar system, as well as the outer space in general.

He said he's looking forward to getting Vietnam on board in the search, as well as in other space technology developments.

Pham Anh Tuan, the director of Vietnam's one-year-old space center, asked to have NASA's support in its current project of a center that is expected to make small satellites capable of surveying the Earth regardless of weather conditions using radar technology.

The first satellite made in Vietnam, and the only so far, was deployed from the International Space Station in Japan on October 4 but has failed to send signals, which may be the result of battery problems. The 10-cubic-meter satellite that weighs one kilogram was made by FPT University under the telecom company of the same name.

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

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