A microsatellite made by Vietnamese was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday in preparation for a space mission, according to the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
Pico Dragon and three other super-small satellites of the United States were shipped to the station by Japan's Kounotori 4 (HTV-4) cargo spacecraft, VNA said, citing the National Satellite Center (NSC).
A rocket carrying the HTV-4 ship blasted off at 4:48 am Tokyo time (2:48 am Vietnam time) from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center in the Japanese island Tanegashima to begin a five-day journey to ISS.
The satellite is scheduled to stay at ISS for up to three months before entering space.
As programmed, the Vietnamese device will take pictures of the Earth, gather data on the space environment, and test communication systems.
Pico Dragon, weighing almost one kilogram and measuring 10x10x11.35 centimeters, was made entirely by young Vietnamese engineers and researchers of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, NSC’s parent.
The development of the device was facilitated by the University of Tokyo and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the researchers said.
Vietnam sent its first remote sensing satellite, VNREDSat-1, into orbit from a launching pad in French Guiana, an overseas region of France in South America, in May this year.
It launched two other telecommunication satellites, Vinasat 1 and Vinasat 2, in 2008 and 2012.
The Southeast Asian nation has beefed up investment in the space industry for a few years, and it now aims to make a satellite and test it on home soil rather than in foreign countries.