Hanoi, Vietnam, 12 May 2006 – Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems from the United States beat two bidders to build and launch Vietnam’s first communication satellite, local media reported on 12 May. With the bidding price of 168 million U.S. dollars, Lockheed Martin beat France’s EADS Astrium/Alcatel Alenia Space and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation to win the bid opened by the state-owned Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group, said Saigon Liberation newspaper.
Last month, the Vietnamese government selected May 2008 as the deadline for launching the satellite named Vinasat, which will span its coverage over Vietnam, other Southeast Asian countries, Japan, the Korean Peninsula, part of China, eastern Oceanean and the South China Sea. The Vinasat is planned to have 25-30 transceivers with life span of around 15 years. After coming into operation, it will help Vietnam’s telecommunications network not depend on topography, and all of its communes have phone, TV and radio coverage.
Now, Vietnam uses satellite services provided by foreign companies from Thailand, Indonesia and Russia. The Vinasat will be Vietnam’s second space project since the country’s first astronaut took part in a Soviet space mission in 1985.