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Vietnam to launch micro satellite in late 2018

  HANOI, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Micro Dragon, a satellite made by Vietnamese engineers, is expected to be launched into space in late 2018, according to the Vietnam National Space Center (VNSC) under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology.

  VNSC Director General Pham Anh Tuan said Japanese authorized agencies are considering granting a safety license for Micro Dragon so that it could be launched later this year, and after receiving the licence, it will be put into orbit by the Epsilon rocket, made by IHI Aerospace of Japan, Vietnam News Agency reported on Sunday.

  Micro Dragon, an earth observation satellite, weighs 50kg and measures 50x50x50cm. It was created by 36 VNSC engineers who studied space technology in Japan. They began creating the satellite in 2013, and it was tested successfully in 2017.

  After going into orbit, it will observe coastal sea areas to assess water quality, locate fisheries resources, and monitor changes in coastal waters to serve Vietnam's aquaculture industry. It is also set to receive sensory signals from the ground and then transfer data to other distant places on earth, while testing new materials like atomic oxygen and antimony tin oxide coating solar cell.

  Earlier, VNSC engineers had created Pico Dragon, a 1kg satellite measuring 10x10x11.35cm. It was launched into space in November 2013 and has operated successfully.

  After Micro Dragon, Vietnam plans to create LOTUSat-1 and LOTUSat-2 satellites, weighing about 600kg and measuring 1.5mx1.5mx3m each.

  To date, Vietnam has placed in orbit two communications satellites -- Vinasat-1 and Vinasat-2, an Earth observing satellite called VNRedsat-1, and one micro satellite Pico Dragon.