Vietnam private satellite to be launched from Japan next month

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A miniature satellite made by Vietnamese telecom giant FPT will be launched into orbit on July 21, VnExpress reported Tuesday.

F-1, a 1 kg CubeSat -- so called because they have a volume of exactly one liter or 1,000 cubic centimeters -- will blast off along with three other satellites aboard a rocket to be launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency from the Tanegashima Space Center south of Kyushu.

The launch is to test the satellite's ability to orbit in space and send signals to the ground station. F-1 is also designed to take low-definition photos of the Earth (640x480).

Once the satellite, produced by FSpace, FPT University's aerospace research laboratory, in cooperation with the US-owned Nanoracks Company, performs the designated functions, it will test more complicated functions like acting as an SMS entrepôt.

Experts said if the trial launch is successful, FPT will become the first private company in Vietnam to make a satellite.

Officials are excited about the upcoming launch

Nguyen Dang Vang, vice chairman of the National Assembly's Science, Technology and Environment Committee, said while on a visit to the lab last month that F-1's success would be important for maritime surveillance and prevention of wildfires.

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Phan Xuan Dung, chairman of the committee, said he believed the launch would be successful, adding it would help enhance national security.

VnExpress said F-1 would also carry messages from young Vietnamese around the world into space.

So far nearly 4,000 people have sent their messages to http://fspace.edu.vn/?page_id=31&lang=vi, it said.

Vietnam's first satellite, Vinasat-1, went into the orbit in 2008, and the second was launched last May. Both belong to the state-owned Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group.

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