Japan to aid nation's space programme
HCM CITY — The Japanese government would provide official development assistance (ODA) loans for Viet Nam to carry out its space exploration programme, the Japanese daily newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported last Friday.
The ODA loans totally valued at between 35 billion yen (US$420 million) and 40 billion yen ($480 million) would be Japan's first ODA allocated for space development.
The loans would reportedly be spent on three projects, an earth-based space centre, two observation satellites and the training of Vietnamese engineers.
The space centre would be built at Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park, which is now under construction in an area some 30 kilometres west of Ha Noi.
The centre would house a testing facility for satellite assembly, a satellite operated data-analysis facility and a large bidirectional antenna seven metres in diametre.
One of the two earth observation satellites would be manufactured in Japan and loaded onto an H-2A rocket to be launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Kagoshima Prefecture in 2017.
Japanese private space development firms and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency would train Vietnamese technicians on satellite production and operation, as well as data analysis.
The other satellite would be made by the Japan-trained engineers, with production expected to start from around 2019.
Japan would send components and engineers to Viet Nam for the project for a planned launch in 2020.
The Government of Viet Nam officially asked Japan to support its space programme with ODA in April 2009.
The final decision on the project would be made later in June 2011 at a Japanese Government's ministerial meeting on packaged assistance for overseas infrastructure projects, and an agreement should be reached between the Japanese and Vietnamese governments in June.
According to Yomiuru Shimbun's reports, the Japan External Trade Organisation has conducted research to determine the possibility of helping Viet Nam obtain its own satellite. — VNS/Yomiuru Shimbun.