Vietnam to launch first telecom satellite next month

By RIA Novosti

Hanoi : Vietnam’s first communications satellite, the Vinasat-1, is to be launched on April 12, a Vietnamese government official said on Wednesday.

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Nguyen Ba Thuoc, deputy director of the Vietnamese Post and Telecommunications Corporation, the satellite project’s investor, said the satellite would be launched by an Ariane carrier rocket by the French company Ariane Space from the Kourou space center in French Guiana.

He said the 2.6-ton satellite, produced by the U.S. firm Lockheed Martin, would be launched to its geostationary orbit position of 132 degrees East, and would contain 20 transponders, ensuring a transmission capacity equivalent to 10,000 voice, Internet and data channels or 120 TV channels.

The satellite will enable Vietnam to provide telecommunications, radio, Internet and TV services to all corners of the country, regardless of topography and climate, the official said.

It will also provide weather information and navigation data to fishing vessels and oil rigs, as well as healthcare and education services to islands and other remote areas.

He said the $300 million investment would be recouped within 10 years.

At present, Vietnam is forced to pay around $15 million a year to rent satellites from Russia, Australia and Thailand.