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Vietnam micro-satellite carried into space by Japan’s HTV-4 cargo spacecraft

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At 04:48 am Japan time (02:24 am Vietnam time) on August 4th 2013, at Yoshinobu launching pad at Tanegashima space centre, Vietnam’s micro satellite Pico Dragon was carried into space on Japan’s HTV-4 (Kounotori 4) cargo spacecraft.

According to the official announcement from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), HTV-4 (Kounotori 4) cargo spacecraft was launched from Yoshinobu launch pad at Tanegashima space centre on August 4th 2013, bringing Vietnam’s micro satellite Pico Dragon and three other micro satellites of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to the International Space Station (ISS).  The HTV4 is scheduled to arrive at ISS on August 9th 2013.


Overview of the Yoshinobu launching pad at Tanegashima space centre


Japan's HTV-4 cargo spacecraft was launched into space, carrying Vietnam’s micro satellite Pico Dragon

The Pico Dragon is 10x10x11.35 cm and weighs nearly one kilogram. It was developed by young engineers and researchers from the Vietnam National Satellite Centre (VNSC) under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST).

Pico Dragon satellite in the JSSOD launching tube (first from the left). Photo: VNSC

Pico Dragon has missions to take pictures of the Earth, measure several parameters by sensors on the satellite, and pilot communications with the earth.

The project aims to promote the development of space technology sector, especially the first preparation for training human resources for self-designing and making Vietnam’s own earth-observation small satellites in the future. All steps in the process of developing the satellite, from researching, designing, making and integrating, to testing, were conducted in Vietnam. In addition, together with support from Japan, VNSC conducted tests at laboratories of Prof. S. Nakasuka from Tokyo University and other pilots at JAXA to meet space environmental conditions before launching. With the experiment results, JAXA affirmed that the Pico Dragon met adequate conditions to lift into ISS by HTV-4 cargo spacecraft.
The successful launch marked a development step for young engineers and researchers from VNSC and prepared to research and develop Vietnam’s own satellite. According to the project operators, apart from efforts of VNST staff, the project received precious support from VAST, the Authority of Radio Frequency Management (ARFM) of Vietnam, JAXA and Tokyo University.

Pico Dragon has missions to take pictures of the Earth, measure several parameters by sensors on the satellite, and pilot communications with the earth.

The project aims to promote the development of space technology sector, especially the first preparation for training human resources for self-designing and making Vietnam’s own earth-observation small satellites in the future. All steps in the process of developing the satellite, from researching, designing, making and integrating, to testing, were conducted in Vietnam. In addition, together with support from Japan, VNSC conducted tests at laboratories of Prof. S. Nakasuka from Tokyo University and other pilots at JAXA to meet space environmental conditions before launching. With the experiment results, JAXA affirmed that the Pico Dragon met adequate conditions to lift into ISS by HTV-4 cargo spacecraft.

The successful launch marked a development step for young engineers and researchers from VNSC and prepared to research and develop Vietnam’s own satellite. According to the project operators, apart from efforts of VNST staff, the project received precious support from VAST, the Authority of Radio Frequency Management (ARFM) of Vietnam, JAXA and Tokyo University.


Young engineers next to the flying model of Pico Dragon satellite. Photo: VNSC


Test at laboratory of Prof. S.Nakasuka, Tokyo University, Japan Photo: VNSC

Translated by Tuyet Nhung

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