Vietnam’s first remote sensing satellite successfully sent its first photos to the ground receiving station on May 9, announced Dr. Bui Trong Tuyen, chief of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology's Small Satellite Management Board.
Reports said the satellite took photographs of areas in Lung Cu of Ha Giang and Hanoi in the north and Phu Quoc Island in the south after it was sent into orbit by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center, French Guiana at 9:06 on May 7 (Hanoi time).
The VNRED Sat-1 was launched with two other space vehicles, including a 140kg Proba-V satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) to map vegetation cover, and a 1.3kg Estonian micro-satellite, ESTCube-1, to test an electric solar sail.
According to the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, despite bad weather, the first photos show the ground receiving station and the satellite work well and have a good connection.
The images of Hanoi and Phu Quoc are of good quality.
VNREDSat-1 will be tested and assessed for three months before it is expected to be handed over to Vietnam. The satellite is capable of taking photos of any place on earth.
The ground stations could connect with the satellite from 2 to 4 times per day through the satellite signal receiving and transmitting station located in Hanoi-based Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park.
In 2008 and 2012, Vietnam launched two telecommunication satellites, Vinasat 1 and Vinasat 2, both of which are operating on a geostationary orbit at an altitude of about 35,800 km.
Vietnam becomes the fifth ASEAN nation to own a remote sensing satellite after Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The satellite, which measures 600 mm x 570 mm x 500 mm and weighs 115 kg, was built at a total cost of €55.8 million from the French Government’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) fund and VND65 billion (around $3.2 million) from the Vietnamese Government.
During its operation, VNRED Sat-1 will provide high-resolution satellite images that will serve social and economic development purposes, natural resources management, environmental protection, and natural disaster detection and control.
It is expected that the satellite will provide 100 images a day on average. This is very important for Vietnam, since the country currently has to buy satellite images from foreign countries at high prices and has to wait for 1-2 months to receive such images.
To operate the VNRED Sat-1, Vietnam has built three ground stations and sent 20 engineers to Toulouse to be trained in operating related systems.