PARIS — Spacebel of Belgium on Jan. 20 formalized a longstanding contract with the Vietnamese government to build a 100-kilogram Earth observation satellite for launch in 2017.
Valued at about 63 million euros ($85 million), the contract was signed in Hanoi with the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology in the presence of both nations’ deputy prime ministers. The agreement includes the training of Vietnamese engineers at Belgium’s University of Liege in the reception and analysis of satellite imagery, and the satellite’s operation for one year.
The VNREDSat-1b follows the VNRED-1a satellite, which was built by Airbus Defence and Space and launched in 2013. VNRED-1b will have similar imaging capability, with a 2.5-meter-resolution imager in black and white and a 10-meter resolution in color. It will have a five-year operational life.
Spacebel leads a consortium of a half-dozen companies including QinetiQ Space, AMOS, Deltatec, VITO and the Liege Space Center. Spacebel has said the consortium structure allows it to better compete on international markets with larger companies including Airbus Defence and Space, Thales Alenia Space and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. of Europe, and Satrec Initiative of South Korea, among others.
Consortium member QinetiQ Space said the payload will have a hyperspectral instrument for higher-precision identification. Vietnam will use VNREDSat-1b for environmental monitoring and as a steppingstone toward national autonomy in satellite manufacturing.
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