VNREDSat-1, Vietnam’s First Remote Sensing Satellite, Celebrates 10 Years in Orbit

Today marks 10 years since the successful launch of the VNREDSat-1 satellite, signalling a new era in space exploration and connecting us to a brighter future.

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The VNREDSat-1 satellite was successfully launched in May 2013, allowing Vietnam to more effectively monitor and research the impacts of climate change, anticipate and take action to prevent natural disasters, and optimize the management of its natural resources.

VNREDSat-1, Vietnam’s first remote sensing satellite. Photo: Space Technology Institute
VNREDSat-1, Vietnam’s first remote sensing satellite. Photo: Space Technology Institute

After a decade of orbiting Earth, Vietnam’s first remote sensing satellite, the VNREDSat-1, has completed 53,000 rounds, totaling 2.4 billion kilometers, according to a ceremony held in Hanoi on May 16 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its launch into space, as reported by Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

The event was jointly organized by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), the French Embassy in Vietnam, and the renowned European multinational aerospace corporation Airbus.

VAST President Chau Van Minh speaks at the event. Source:  ISI,VAST
VAST President Chau Van Minh speaks at the event. Source: ISI,VAST

In his opening remarks, VAST President Chau Van Minh firmly asserted that the successful launch of the French-funded spacecraft into orbit on May 7, 2013, was a crucial step forwards in achieving Vietnam’s space technology development strategy. This momentous event was made possible by the close collaboration between VAST and Airbus, thus reinforcing the strong Vietnam – France friendship.

According to Bui Trong Tuyen, Director of Vietnam’s Space Technology Institute (VAST), the satellite has provided approximately 160,000 images across the territorial land and waters of Vietnam and other parts of the world.

Weighing in at 120 kilograms, this satellite has been operating for 10 consecutive years to support Vietnam in tackling issues related to forest and water resource management, disaster management, urban mapping and planning, national security, and coastal zone management – all within the projected five-year lifespan.

Delegates at the event. Source:  ISI,VAST
Delegates at the event. Source: ISI,VAST

CEO of Airbus Vietnam Hoang Tri Mai expressed his pride in being a partner of Vietnam’s important space project, expressing his hope that the group could continue to accompany the nation in its space development journey. He underlined the commitment of Airbus Vietnam to provide the necessary support and resources to ensure the success of this endeavor.

The French Ambassador Nicolas Warnery remarked that the VNREDSat-1 satellite is an exemplary model of successful partnership in space exploration and technological advancement between the governments of Vietnam and France.

France looks forward to strengthening the bilateral relationship in this strategic field, providing training for young scientists and researchers, and transferring technology to Vietnam to help establish a comprehensive space industry.

Vietnam’s First Remote Sensing Satellite VNREDSat-1 Marks Decade in Orbit
A high-resolution image provided by VNDREDSat-1. Photo: earth.esa.int

VNREDSat-1 (Vietnam Natural Resources, Environment, and Disaster-monitoring Satellite-1) is an advanced monitoring tool that serves to manage natural resources and the environment, promote scientific research, and facilitate training. Moreover, this tool is essential in supporting the implementation of socio-economic sustainable development and the safeguarding of national sovereignty.

Satellites of the same type typically last for an average of five years, however, VNREDSat-1 was utilized for an impressive nine years from May 7th, 2013 to November 9th, 2021. During that time, it fulfilled its purpose as the first earth observation satellite system of Vietnam, offering a precious source of satellite images for the country.

On 9th November 2021, the VNREDSat-1 system experienced a grave technical issue concerning the hardware that stores operational and control data.

The successful restoration of the system on December 1, 2021, has marked a major milestone for the engineers operating it, providing them with invaluable experience and helping to save a considerable amount of money, as well as significantly reducing the time that the satellite was out of orbit.

Since its re-commencement on April 4th, the satellite has taken 280 pictures, of which more than 80 are of excellent quality.

Experts and customers alike have lauded the photos taken by VNREDSat-1 for their high quality and efficiency in aiding socio-economic development and ensuring defense security.

Hannah Nguyen