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Japan to Launch Vietnamese Microsatellite into Orbit Next March

To the moon!

VnExpress reports that the NanoDragon, a microsatellite developed by the Vietnam National Space Center (VNSC), has been sent to Japan in order to be launched into space.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will send the NanoDragon into the great unknown next March as part of their program to demonstrative innovative technologies using microsatellites.

Riding alongside Vietnam's satellite, which weighs about 4 kilograms, will be Japan's 100 kg RAISE-2 satellite, four 50 kg satellites, and another four items around the same size as the NanoDragon. The tiny satellite has been completely developed by VNSC, and almost all of its components were manufactured in Vietnam as well.

It is intended to receive Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals in order to track activity at sea, while also helping to verify the accuracy of navigation and positioning system developed by Japan. The NanoDragon will orbit roughly 560 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. It will be operated by VNSC from a facility in Hanoi's Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park once in orbit.

In January of 2019, the much larger MicroDragon - weighing 50 kg - hitched a ride on a Japanese rocket launched from Kagoshima Prefecture. This satellite observes Vietnam's coastline in order to evaluate water quality, locate fisheries, detect cloud coverage and collect signals from ground-based sensors.

[Top photo via VnExpress.]