Decade-long voyage of VNREDSat-1: celebrating Việt Nam's technological achievements

May 17, 2023 - 07:37
In an era of escalating environmental concerns and the growing necessity for comprehensive resource management, the VNREDSat-1 satellite has proven to be an invaluable asset to Việt Nam.


Dr. Bùi Trọng Tuyên, director of Việt Nam’s Space Technology Institute, introduced the achievements of VNREDSat-1 satellite during ten years of operation. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI – It's been ten years since Việt Nam launched its first observational satellite into orbit, providing vital data on water resources and natural disasters

In an era of escalating environmental concerns and the growing necessity for comprehensive resource management, the VNREDSat-1 satellite has proven to be an invaluable asset to Việt Nam.

Over the course of its decade-long existence, the satellite has captured nearly 160,000 images, spanning not only Việt Nam's territories and territorial waters, but also locations around the globe. Its contributions have been pivotal in proactive surveillance, managing natural resources and the environment, advancing scientific research, fostering education, and underpinning sustainable socio-economic growth and national defence and security.

This milestone was celebrated at an event held yesterday in Hà Nội, with the theme "Connection for Future". The gathering was a joint endeavour by the Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology, the French Embassy, and Airbus. The event was marked by a keynote address from Dr. Bùi Trọng Tuyên, director of Việt Nam’s Space Technology Institute. He elaborated on the achievements of VNREDSat-1 over its ten-year operational lifespan.

VNREDSat-1 has been a game-changer for Việt Nam, marking its first fully-integrated remote sensing system, encompassing a ground receiving station to an in-orbit satellite. Surpassing expectations, it has managed to double its designed lifetime while continuing to operate efficiently, producing stable and high-quality images, according to Tuyên.

Over the decade, it has made an impressive 53,000 revolutions around the Earth, an astronomical equivalent to 2.4 billion kilometres of distance. The impact and scope of VNREDSat-1's contributions continue to be a testament to the prowess of Việt Nam's technological advancements.

The VNREDSat-1 system's technological sophistication extends to its direct connection with the image receiving and processing station, forming a seamless link with the National Remote Sensing Department (NRSD) database. This strategic integration of data ensures a streamlined, closed system that enhances the efficiency of monitoring and management.

With its global imaging capabilities, the satellite's data significantly bolstered scientific research and application tasks at all levels, from central to local agencies, as Tuyên said in his address.

The operations team at the Space Technology Institute, which includes some of Việt Nam's finest scientists, had diligently overseen VNREDSat-1's journey. They had conducted 56 orbital corrections thus far. Of these, two were major corrections, 15 were collision avoidance manoeuvres, and the remainder were technical adjustments, Tuyên told the attendees.

Moreover, the satellite's operations had had far-reaching benefits beyond Việt Nam's borders. It had made significant contributions to disaster prevention and mitigation strategies in the ASEAN region and across the globe, solidifying Việt Nam's commitment to global sustainability and cooperation.

Speaking at the event, Prof. Châu Văn Minh, director of the Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology, said: “Việt Nam’s first launch of an earth observation satellite VNREDSat-1 into orbit on May 7, 2013, was an important milestone in the implementation of the Space Technology Development Strategy in the country."

This was also the result of the close cooperation between the academy and Airbus Group and a symbol of the friendship between Việt Nam and France, Minh said.

“The fact that the VNREDSat-1 satellite has operated twice as long as expected was not only a testament to the advanced technology of France and Airbus Group in particular but also demonstrates the effective training and transfer between Airbus and the Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology, Airbus' active support in satellite maintenance as well as the initiative and creativity of Vietnamese staff in satellite operation,” the director said.

As a partner in collaboration with the Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology to develop the VNREDSat-1 project from early ideas to the present, Hoàng Tri Mai, general director of Airbus in Việt Nam, said that Airbus Group was extremely proud to be a partner in this important space project of Việt Nam.

The VNREDSat-1 satellite had been actively contributing to support the government to solve challenges in the management of natural resources and environment, Mai said.

Airbus looked forward to accompanying Việt Nam on the development of aerospace for decades to come, she added.

French Ambassador to Việt Nam, Nicolas Warnery, said that the VNREDSat-1 was an example of very successful cooperation in the field of space and satellites between the two governments.

The exceptional longevity of VNREDSat-1 was a testament to the quality of French brand satellites.

The French government looked forward to continuing to cooperate with Việt Nam in this strategic area, as well as sharing skills and expertise through training young scientists and researchers and transferring technology to Việt Nam to establish an integrated space industry, said Warnery.

VNREDSat-1, short for the Vietnam Natural Resources, Environment and Disaster-monitoring Satellite-1, is Việt Nam’s first optical Earth observation satellite, capable of taking pictures of all areas on the Earth's surface. VNS