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Vietnam masters satellite technology

Vietnam has launched two communications satellites into orbit and hopes to
control them without foreign assistance by March 2013.

Vietnam, technology, team, development, national program
Que Duong Satellite Station on the outskirts of Hanoi

The second satellite VINASAT-II went into orbit from French Guiana’s Kouru
launch pad nearly nine months ago, showing the country’s desire to grasp
satellite technology in space.

Together with 2008’s VINASAT-I launch, VINASAT-II helped assert Vietnam’s
sovereignty over space, add to its telecommunications infrastructure, contribute
to national socio-economic development and strengthen national security and
defence capacity.

At a ceremony held shortly after the VINASAT-II launch, Prime Minister Nguyen
Tan Dung revealed that the Party and State were especially interested in the two
satellite projects because of their political and socio-economic significance.

The two projects not only confirm Vietnam’s sovereignty over space but also help
elevate the country’s profile in the world arena, said the PM.
Que Duong Satellite Station on the outskirts of Hanoi

Hoang Phuc Thang, head of the Que Duong Satellite Station that is operating and
controlling VINASAT-I and VINASAT-II said the successful launches demonstrate
Vietnam’s determination to effectively utilise the frequency resource in space
Vietnam had registered at 131.8 degrees East in orbit.

He said more than 90 percent of VINASAT-I’s capacity has been used after four
years of operation. Meanwhile, VINASAT-II is operating according to technical
specifications, and is capable of providing quality services to clients.

Since undertaking the VINASAT 2 project, the Satellite Information Centre under
the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) International (VNPT-I) and
US contractor Lockheed Martin have been running joint training courses for
Vietnamese engineers.

These courses helped engineers overcome difficulties in controlling the two
satellites, including adjacent-channel interference caused by VINASAT-I and
VINASAT-II’s proximity.

Vietnamese engineers have successfully controlled VINASAT-I 27 months
independently after entering orbit – 9 months ahead of schedule. They hope to
use this experience to limit the hand-over time for VINASAT-II and to manage the
two satellites in March 2013 without direct foreign assistance.

Kent Mitchell, one of Lockheed Martin technical experts, who has worked at Que
Duong Satellite Station for six months, praised the Vietnamese engineers’
intelligence and eagerness to learn from foreign experts.

“I totally believe that Vietnamese engineers will be capable of managing the two
satellites without foreign support very shortly,” said Mitchell.

After receiving VINASAT-II from contractor Lockheed Martin, VNPT assigned its
VNPT-I to manage and operate the satellite, which started providing services as
of August 15, 2012.

VNPT-I director Lam Quoc Cuong said his company has effectively run the two
satellites and its 2012 turnover increased by 12 percent from the previous year.

However, he admitted that it is difficult to fully exploit the frequency
capacity of VINASAT-II as the satellite market is experiencing fierce
competition and all countries in the region have their own satellites.

“To secure a firm foothold, the company will have no choice but to keep hiring
prices at acceptable levels and provide better sales services,” said Cuong.

To this end, he said, besides domestic clients, VNPT-I will look for foreign
partners in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and other countries to hire the satellite.

VINASAT-II was designed to operate for up to 20 years, or five years more than
initially planned. Cuong expects that the VINASAT-II project will break even and
begin to make profits after 10 years.

VOV

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