Belgium: A consortium of Belgian aerospace companies has signed a pre-contract agreement with the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Johan Vande Lanotte and the Belgian ambassador. The contract comprises a total package for building and supplying a complete satellite infrastructure in Vietnam. This consists of the construction of the satellite, ground station and test facilities, the training of Vietnamese partners, and the operation of the satellite for one year. Alongside the aerospace company from Kruibeke, the Walloon companies Spacebel and Amos are also part of the entirely Belgian consortium.
The Vietnamese satellite has been given the name VNREDSat-1B. The earth observation satellite will have many similarities with Proba-V, the satellite built by QinetiQ Space (part of the consortium) that is currently mapping worldwide vegetation. The Vietnamese government wants to deploy the satellite for extensive monitoring of its agriculture. Vietnam's economy relies very heavily on its natural resources, so proceeds from crop cultivation and water management are particularly important factors for shaping the country's agricultural policy. The satellite will enable the country to make independent forecasts based on observations of its territory and surrounding environments from space.
"This new contract will allow QinetiQ Space to enhance its profile as a specialist in the construction and supply of earth observation satellites, and the signing of the agreement will also hopefully be a trigger for other countries we are currently holding discussions with," said Frank Preud'homme, commercial director for QinetiQ Space.