Lockheed Martin in deal for Vietnam's second satellite

HANOI, May 11, 2010 (AFP) - US defense giant Lockheed Martin on Tuesday signed a 215 million dollar contract to build Vietnam's second satellite, officials said.

The deal with state-owned Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) includes the satellite, control facilities and launching service, Hoang Minh Thong, a government satellite expert, said at a press conference.

In April 2008, Vietnam launched a rocket from South America to propel its first orbiter into space. So far, more than 80 percent of the capacity of Vinasat-1 has been used, officials said.

The satellite transmits telecommunications and television signals.

Vietnam expects to fully recover its investment in the first satellite by 2018, a year earlier than scheduled, said Lam Cuoc Cuong, director of the Vinasat Centre which markets the satellite service.

Vinasat-2 is expected to operate for 15 years and will help transmit television, radio and civil aviation signals to remote regions of the country. It will also be used as a backup satellite for the first one, officials said.

Vietnam has registered a total of seven orbital positions, meaning it could potentially launch seven satellites, they said.

Vinasat-2 will be delivered in about two years, with the launch some time after that, the officials said.

Vietnam's development of mobile and fixed-line telephones as well as Internet and broadband is outpacing other Asian countries, a senior United Nations official said last year.

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