PARIS — Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems will build Vietnam’s Vinasat 2 telecommunications satellite under a contract signed May 11 with the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), VNPT announced.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but VNPT has said that it expects the Vinasat 2 project, including the satellite’s launch and insurance, to cost around $300 million. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Lockheed Martin also is responsible for selecting the launch services provider and insuring the satellite’s launch under the in-orbit delivery contract, VNPT said.

A VNPT official said May 12 that Europe’s Arianespace launch consortium had been selected to launch Vinasat 2 in May 2012 aboard either an Ariane 5 heavy-lift rocket or the European version of Russia’s Soyuz vehicle. Vinasat 2 is expected to weigh about 3,000 kilograms at launch.

Vinasat 2 will be a Lockheed Martin A2100 satellite frame, as is Vietnam’s first telecommunications satellite, Vinasat 1, which was launched in early 2008 and operates at 132 degrees east in geostationary orbit. Vinasat 1 is already 80 percent full and is expected to be operating at nearly full capacity in 2012.

“Demand for satellite services is growing fast,” VNPT said in a May 11 statement on the contract.

In addition to handling the growth of the Vinasat customer base, Vinasat 2, if launched as scheduled, will enable VNPT to retain rights to the 131.8 degrees east orbital position. VNPT officials have said Vinasat 2 will carry 24 Ku-band transponders, a larger capacity than Vinasat 1, which carries 12 Ku-band and eight extended C-band transponders.


Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.