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Arianespace to launch a satellite for Vietnam

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MUMBAI: French satellite launch service provider Arianespace will launch in 2008 the Vinasat-1 satellite for Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (VNPT). Vinasat-1 will be built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS).

The first Vietnamese telecommunications satellite, Vinasat-1 will be launched on an Ariane 5 vehicle during the first half of 2008 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Vinasat-1 is the 275th contract won by Arianespace since the company's founding in March 1980 and the 53rd launch for a satellite operator in the Asia-Pacific region. Vinasat-1 is the 39th satellite platform built by Lockheed Martin to be launched by Arianespace.

Weighing about 2,600 kg at launch, Vinasat-1 will be positioned at 132 degrees East Longitude, and will offer a design life exceeding 15 years. Fitted with 20 C- and Ku-band transponders, the satellite will provide radio, television and telephone transmission services for all of Vietnam and the Asia Pacific region from its geostationary orbit.

Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall says, "We are delighted to be working with the people at LMCSS once again. This contract is the latest mark of recognition of the excellent service and solutions offered by Arianespace. We are also very honoured to be selected to orbit Vietnam's first communications satellite, and we are very proud to be participating in the country's economic development."

Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems president Ted Gavrilis said, "Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems is proud to join Arianespace's highly professional launch team to ensure the successful launch of Vinasat-1.

"We are confident that the expertise and heritage we bring to the Vinasat-1 programme, along with Arianespace's outstanding launch service, will result in superior program execution for an on-time delivery of Vietnam's first telecommunications spacecraft."

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