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Vietnam to cooperate with NASA on space tech.
Updated: 2009-05-22 13:59

HANOI - Vietnam's Ministry of Science and Technology said it will cooperate with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to build a space legal framework and its first space technology research and development center, the local newspaper Vietnam Nation reported Friday.

According to Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Van Lang, who led Vietnam's first delegation to NASA in April, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and NASA will soon come to a cooperation agreement on space technology development and application when a NASA's delegation is sent to Vietnam in November.

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Under the expected agreement, NASA will offer the country consultancy related to the construction of the Space Law in line with international laws, and the space center in Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Zone in Hanoi, said Lang.

The nine-hectare center will be the site for the manufacturing, testing and control of satellites. Construction of the center is expected to start this year with an investment of 350 million US dollars, which will come from Japan's official development assistance, said the newspaper.

Under a national strategy on the research on and application of space technology by 2020, Vietnam aims to develop small satellites for aerial photography and research purposes in the next few years, and then bigger satellites mainly used for weather forecasting, research purposes, disaster surveillance, earthquake and tsunami warning and defense purposes, said Pham Anh Tuanvice, director of the academy's Space Technology Institute.

Vietnam's first 300-million US dollar satellite, Vinasat 1, was produced by the US firm Lockheed Martin and then launched by French company Arianespace in April 2008. It has 20 transponders and a life-span of 15 to 20 years.