Vietnam to launch its 3rd satellite later this year

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An Earth observation satellite will become Vietnam's third satellite to go into orbit when it is launched later this year, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon news website quoted an official as saying on Tuesday.

The first of its kind in Vietnam, the VNREDSat 1A is expected to be sent into space this April or some time during the second quarter, depending on weather conditions, said Bui Trong Tuyen, deputy chief of Space Technology Institute.

It will be launched into an orbit synchronous with the Earth's and be some 670 kilometers above the planet to conduct scientific studies, he said. 

With the investment of 55.2 million Euros (US$72.34 million) from an official development assistance loan from France, the 120-kilogram satellite was produced by European-owned Astrium Satellites.

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The producer will also provide training for some 15 Vietnamese engineers in Toulouse, France, in addition to necessary monitoring equipment, according to the news report.

Tuyen said Astrium Satellites planned to contract the European-owned Arianespace to administer the launch of VNAREDSat-1A.

Arianespace was also in charge of sending Vietnam's first satellites, Vinasat-1 and Vinasat-2, into orbit in 2008 and last year, he added.

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