Wednesday, April 16, 2008

1 satellite gets to launching pad

At 8pm today (Vietnam time), both Vietnam’s first telecom satellite Vinasat-1 and the missile, will be transported to the outdoor launching pad by special rail. The missile will be charged with fuel after that and launched on April 19.

According to latest news from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guyana, Vietnam’s Vinasat-1 and Brazil’s Star One C2 satellites have been fastened to the head of the Ariane 5 missile.

After the launching rehearsal on April 15, the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Groups (VNPT), Lockheed Martin and Arianespace met on April 16 to discuss the readiness of the missile.

Of four VNPT’s experts who are cooperating with foreign experts, there are two who came from Vietnam to Kourou since Vinasat-1 was transported from the US to French Guyana. The two others escorted the satellite from the US to Kourou and one of them has returned to the US to supervise the control of Vinasat after the launch.

VNPT plans to supply Vinasat-1 based services as of June 2008. Two basic services include satellite frequency leasing and packaged services like leased line, mobile broadcast, DTH, video conferencing, banking data transmission, ISP line, etc.

Besides two land stations based in northern Ha Tay Province and southern Binh Duong Province, VNPT is building a commercial station named NOC in Ha Tay.

The idea to launch Vietnam’s own satellite initiated in 1995. In October 1998, the government approved the Vinasat pre-feasibility project. According to an initial plan, Vinasat would be launched in the second quarter of 2001 and be exploited in the fourth quarter of 2001. However, , bid invitation was not released till mid-2003. On May 12, 2006, VNPT signed a contract with the US’ Lockheed Martin Commercial Systems on the provision of satellite manufacture, launching service, etc.

The total value of Vinasat-1 is $200 million. VNPT plans to recoup its investment within 9-10 years.
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