VNBusinessNews.com - Vietnam has confirmed it will launch its second telecommunications satellite at a cost of $350 million in 2012. The state-owned Vietnam Post and Telecommunications agency is to invest the money in Vinasat-2. VPNT said it remains undecided on whether to embark on a domestic launch or outsource the process
as it did for the country's first satellite in April 2008.
Vinasat-1 cost around $300 million, was designed and built by Lockheed Martin and successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana. An Ariane 5-ECA rocket provided by Arianespace of Evry, France, put the satellite into orbit, confirmed by Lockheed Martin's satellite tracking station in Uralla, Australia.
VNPT said it is talking with other companies about launching Vinasat-2. It also believes that the infrastructure needed to track the satellite, such as a control station and surveillance equipment, is expected to be less costly than for the current satellite.
Vinasat-1 is based on Lockheed Martin's A2100A spacecraft platform and features 12 operating Ku Band transponders providing coverage over Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and part of Myanmar, formerly called Burma. It also has 8 C-Band primary transponders for wider coverage taking in India, Japan and Australia, according to a release from Lockheed Martin at the time of the launch.
Vinasat-1 has a life expectancy of around 15 years and is currently working at 70 percent of its capacity, VNPT noted. It is expected to work at 100 percent capacity in 2010 and regain investment within nine years, an admittedly ambitious target.
Vinasat-1 with its capacity of around 10,000 voice/Internet/data transmission channels, or 120 TV channels, enables Vietnam to bring telecommunications, Internet and TV services to distant and mountainous areas as well as islands that remain outside the reach of land-based communications facilities. In particular Vinasat-1 benefits fishermen and marine industries, and monitors natural disaster prevention and relief, the VPT said.
Vinasat-1 is also saving Vietnam, meaning VNPT, around $15 million a year by not having to rent space and time on foreign-owned satellites. As well, its capacity can be sold to the region's other telecommunications businesses.
Vietnam has been planning a second telecommunications satellite since only a few months after the launch of the first, according to satellite news Web site Satellite Today.
"Our satellite has the coverage not only for Vietnam but for other countries in the region. I think the demand for capacity on satellite is very high, and it will soon fill up," Lam Hoang Vinh, vice president of VNPT, said in an interview with Satellite Today Web site in June 2008.
"The demand for satellite capacity is high due to Internet development as well as access to media services. We are preparing to plan for the Vinasat-2 satellite. After 2010, we will need another satellite with more capacity."