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Vietnam to launch first satellite

Latest update : 2008-03-12

Vietnam is set to launch its first satellite in April from Kourou in French Guiana. Designed to boost its information technology services, the move marks another step in the communist country's efforts to integrate the international community.

Vietnam will launch its first satellite in April in a move seen as a further step in the communist country's increasing integration with the international community, an official said Wednesday.
   
The satellite will be launched from Kourou in French Guiana, the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) said.
   
"At around 5.30 am on the 12th of April, the first Vietnamese satellite VINASAT-1 will be launched into its orbit," VNPT vice president Nguyen Ba Thuoc told reporters.
   
"This is a notable milestone in the process of integrating Vietnam with the rest of the world," he said.
   
The project, which cost about 300 million dollars, has been in the pipeline for more than 10 years.
   
Vietnam signed a contract with US firm Lockheed Martin in May 2006 to build the satellite after delays largely due to problems in coordinating its frequencies with those of satellites already in orbit in the region.
   
The satellite, which weighs around 2.5 tonnes and has an estimated lifespan of 15 to 20 years, carries 20 transponders for transmission and reception of television channels, telecommunications and the Internet.
   
Vietnam also intends to use it to help open up its most remote regions, which have often been left behind by the national economic boom, and to better manage natural disasters, such as typhoons which hit every year.
   
Following its accession to the World Trade Organisation last year, and this year joining the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, the satellite launch is seen as another way to increase the country's international stature.
   
If the launch is successful, Vietnam will become the sixth Southeast Asian country to have a satellite in orbit.

Date created : 2008-03-12

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