A new, locally-made, smallsat developed by the Vietnam National Space Centre (VNSC) has been completed and sent to Japan for launch into orbit.
On August 11, the VNSC announced that their NanoDragon satellite was transported from Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi to Narita Airport in Tokyo that day, before being transferred to the Uchinoura Space Centre launch site in Kagoshima Prefecture and handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for launch preparations.
The 3U cubesat NanoDragon weighs approximately 4 kg and is comprised of multiple 10×10×34 cm (3U) modules. The entire process of researching, designing, integrating and testing the satellite’s functions was carried out in Vietnam.
The smallsat was developed by the VNSC (under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology) as the result of the nano-class satellite development, launch and trial operation project, under the National Science and Technology Programme on space technology, from 2016 to 2020.
NanoDragon is tasked with using smallsat beam technology to receive automatic identification signals of ships for the purpose of tracking and monitoring vehicles at sea. In addition, the satellite has also been designed to verify the quality of the satellite posture and control system and a newly-developed, advanced, on-board computer designed specifically for small satellites. NanoDragon will be working from SSO at 560 km above the Earth’s surface.
In parallel with the satellite development, a ground station to operate the satellite after launch has been developed and installed at the VNSC at Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park in Hanoi.
Prior to NanoDragon, the first made-in-Vietnam satellite, PicoDragon (weighing 1 kg), was successfully launched with signals received in 2013. MicroDragon (50 kg), developed by a group of 36 young VNSC researchers under Japanese experts’ supervision, was also sent into orbit on January 18, 2019 and has successfully sent pictures from space to its ground station in Japan.