Arianespace and Astrium today signed the launch contract for the VNREDSat-1A Earth observation satellite, on behalf of the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology. This ceremony was attended by ESA's Director General and by representatives of the Directorate of Launchers.
VNREDSat-1A will be launched during the second quarter of 2013 by the second Vega launcher, VERTA 1, performed by Arianespace at the Guiana Space Center, French Guiana, for the European Space Agency (ESA). The satellite will be carried in the lower position on the Vespa multiple launch structure used for this mission.
Both Astrium and Arianespace were pleased with this contract, which further expands bilateral cooperation between Vietnam and France, as the two countries celebrate the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, established in 1973.
An optical observation satellite, VNREDSat-1A will be injected into sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) at an altitude of 670 km. The 120-kg satellite is being built by Astrium, which will supply to Vietnam the complete satellite system and ground receiving facilities.
Arianespace's family of launch vehicles, Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega, is perfectly suited to satellites based on Myriade or AstroSat-100 platforms, such as VNREDSat-1A. Arianespace has already launched 12 satellites of this type from the Guiana Space center, seven using Ariane 5 (4 Essaim, 2 Spirale, Parasol), and five using Soyuz (4 Elisa, SSOT). Another satellite using this type of platform is also scheduled for an Arianespace launch.
Commenting on this latest launch contract, the first signed in 2013, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said: "We are especially proud of once again being able to work with Vietnam, following the successful launches of Vinasat-1 and -2 communications satellites. With this contract, the fourth we signed for Vega, Arianespace clearly shows that it can offer customers a launch service perfectly adapted to this type of mission. We would also like to thank Astrium and Vietnam for placing their trust in us. We are very pleased to be working once more with Astrium, after having launched five of their satellites during the last four months of 2012."
NOTE TO EDITORS: High-resolution imagery from the launch contract signing is available to journalists with verified access to the Arianespace Press center.