A new satellite designed by Vietnamese engineers is scheduled to head into space by the end of this year, collecting data to serve the country's fishing industry.
The satellite, MicroDragon, is a product by a Vietnam Space Center (VNSC) team with Japanese technical support. The center has sent 36 engineers to satellite technology masters courses at five Japanese universities since September 2013. They have designed, manufactured and tested the satellite during the courses.
MicroDragon is a 50x50x50 centimeters (19.6 inches) cube that weighs about 50 kilograms (110 pounds). Once in orbit, it will monitor coastal waters and locate fisheries resources to serve Vietnam's aquaculture.
Japan’s Epsilon rocket will carry the satellite into space after it receives safety permit from Japanese authorities.
Vietnam sent its first satellite into space in August 2013. The one-kilo PicoDragon operated in space for three months. The country had launched four satellites into space before that, but they were manufactured by foreign companies.
Vietnam has plans to make the LOTUSat-2 satellite (500 kg) by 2022, which upon completion will put Vietnam among the leading countries in the region in terms of space technology, alongside Indonesia and Malaysia, said Pham Anh Tuan, General Director of VNSC.