Astrium To Build Imaging Satellite for Vietnam

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PONTE VEDRA, Fla. — Astrium Satellites will build a medium-resolution optical Earth observation satellite for the Vietnamese government under a contract valued at 55.2 million euros ($71.8 million), Astrium announced Aug. 2.

The contract with the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology calls for Astrium to furnish a satellite with a ground resolution of 2.5 meters as well as data reception and satellite control facilities and a program to train Vietnamese engineers. About 15 Vietnamese satellite engineers will be stationed at Astrium’s Toulouse, France, production facilities during the manufacturing period, Astrium said.

The satellite, to be called VNREDSat-1 — Vietnam Natural Resources, Environment and Disaster Monitoring Satellite — follows a technology partnership agreement signed in November 2009 between Astrium and the Vietnamese government during a visit to Vietnam by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

Vietnamese officials at the time had said VNREDSat-1 would weigh about 150 kilograms at launch.

Astrium has established similar Earth observation satellite program relationships with Thailand, South Korea, Algeria, Chile and Kazakhstan, not including the small-satellite partnerships developed with numerous nations by Astrium-owned Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. of Britain.

The VNREDSat-1 satellite is expected to be launched in 2013 by Europe’s Arianespace consortium of Evry, France.