Asian Surveying & Mapping
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January 22nd, 2014
Belgian Consortium Signs Contract to Build Vietnamese Earth Observation Satellite

QinetiQ Space is responsible for the design and construction of the satellite. “The first contacts were initially made by software company Spacebel, which until recently had a branch in Vietnam, but negotiations dragged on for five years before the agreement could actually be signed,” says Frank Preud’homme, commercial director for QinetiQ Space.

The Vietnamese satellite has been given the name VNREDSat-1B, which stands for Vietnam Resource, Environment & Disaster Monitoring Satellite. The earth observation satellite will have many similarities with Proba-V, the satellite built by QinetiQ Space that is currently mapping worldwide vegetation. “This is an optical satellite with a hyperspectral instrument. As well as normal photographs, the camera can also take photographs containing added information. Hyperspectral data provides more detailed information about objects and enables precise identification,” explains Preud’homme.

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,” concludes Frank Preud’homme.

About QinetiQ Space

The aerospace company QinetiQ Space designs and builds small satellites, satellite components and scientific instruments for space travel. QinetiQ Space started in Kruibeke in 1969 as Verhaert. The company initially developed industrial products, and has been working on space travel projects since 1983. The Belgian organization is the most important supplier of small satellites for ESA, the European Space Agency. QinetiQ Space employs 70 people, achieved a turnover of 20 million euro in the financial year 2012-2013, and became part of the British-American QinetiQ Group in 2005. More info at http://www.spacenv.qinetiq.com.