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Vietnam's First Satellite Launched After 13-Year Preparation

The Vinasat-1.
by Thai Thanhvan
Hanoi, Vietnam (XNA) Apr 21, 2008
After 13 years of unceasing efforts, Vietnam's first satellite was successfully launched Saturday, ushering a new era for the local information communication technology industry. The 2.6-ton medium-sized satellite, Vinasat-1, was successfully launched to its geostationary orbit position using rocket Ariane-5in Kourou site in French Guiana at 5:16 a.m. Saturday (2016 GMT Friday).

The satellite project was first approved by the Vietnamese government in 1995, with an aim to serve increasing local demand for better communication services with lower costs.

After the approval, Vietnam had to negotiate with other countries to determine the satellite's orbital position.

And in 2005, the geostationary orbit position of longitude 132 degrees east was finally decided after Vietnam overcame difficulties in negotiations especially with Japan, which uses the same position, and Tonga, which owns longitude 130 and 134 degrees east, and reserved it with the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

In addition, Vietnam was very careful in choosing partners for the satellite production and launch. Satellite lifespan of 15-20 years, great safety, high possibility of successful launch, and competitive prices were major factors taken into consideration.

Among a number of the world's leading satellite producers, mainly from the United States, Russia and Japan, U.S. firm Lockheed Martin was selected as the satellite project's main contractor.

In 2006, the project's investor, the state-owned Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), inked a contract with Lockheed Martin.

Total investment for the production and launch of Vinasat-1 and the construction of related facilities like two ground stations in northern Ha Tay province and southern Binh Duong province stands at nearly 300 million dollars. The VNPT will recoup the investment after nine or ten years.

Vietnam has attached importance to using the satellite for commercial and non-commercial purposes, serving domestic and foreign enterprises, organizations and residents.

So far, as many as 16 Vietnamese organizations and firms have registered to use Vinasat-1-based communication services at costs lower than those provided by foreign satellites, vice president of the VNPT Nguyen Ba Thuoc said at a recent press briefing.

At present, Vietnam had to spend some 15 million U.S. dollars annually to rent satellites of foreign countries as Russia, Australia and Thailand.

With 20 transponders, service coverage in South East Asia, part of China, India, Korea, Japan, Australia and Hawaii, and life-span of between 15 and over 20 years, Vinasat-1 has transmission capacity equivalent to 10,000 voice, Internet and data channels or120 TV channels, helping Vietnam to provide telecommunications, radio, Internet and TV services to all corners of the country regardless of topography and climate.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

related report
Arianespace orbits Star One C2 and VINASAT-1: Second successful launch in 2008
On Friday evening, April 18, Arianespace boosted two communications satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO): Star One C2 for Brazilian operator Star One, as part of a turnkey contract with Thales Alenia Space, and VINASATt-1, built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS) for operator Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (VNPT).

38th Ariane 5 launch, 24th success in a row

The latest successful launch of an Ariane 5, the second in 2008, comes just five weeks after the flawless launch of the Jules Verne ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) to the International Space Station. It confirms that Arianespace's launch Service and Solutions continue to set the standard and guarantee independent access to space for all stakeholders, whether national or international space agencies, private or government operators.

Ariane 5 is the only commercial launcher in service today capable of simultaneously launching two payloads, and gives Arianespace customers unrivaled performance, flexibility and competitiveness.

A boost for a new customer

Arianespace is particularly proud of being selected to launch VINASAT-1, Vietnam's first communications satellite. Through VINASAT-1, the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) will be able to offer a wide range of telecommunications services across the country.

VINASAT-1 is the 39th Lockheed Martin platform to be launched by Arianespace.

Long-standing customers and partners

Star One C2 is the eighth Brazilian satellite to use the European launcher. Star One is the largest regional satellite service operator in Latin America.

Arianespace and Thales Alenia Space have established relations of mutual trust that reach back many years. Arianespace has launched nearly two-thirds of all satellites built by Thales Alenia Space to date. Star One C2 is the 52nd platform built by Thales Alenia Space to be launched by Europe's Ariane rocket.

Star One C2/VINASAT-1 mission at a glance

The mission was carried out by an Ariane 5 ECA launcher from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Friday, April 18, at 7:17 pm local time in Kourou (7:17 pm in Rio de Janeiro, 22:17 UTC, and on Saturday, April 19 at 12:17 am in Paris, and 5:17 am in Hanoi).

Provisional parameters at injection of the cryogenic upper stage (ESC-A) were: Perigee: 249.6 km for a target of 249.7 km (+/-4) Apogee: 35,928 km for a target of 35,928 km (+/-240) Inclination: 2.00 degrees for a target of 2.00 degrees (+/-0.06degrees)

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New Russian Telecoms Satellite Starts Work
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Apr 16, 2008
Russia's new Express-AM33 telecommunications satellite that was orbited in late January has started operations, the Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) said on Tuesday. The satellite, designed by the Reshetnev Applied Mechanics Science and Production Association to provide TV and satellite communications all over Russia, was launched on board a Proton-M carrier rocket from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

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