NEC Corporation announced on 23 April 2020 that it received an order from Sumitomo Corporation for the manufacture and launch of the “LOTUSat-1” Earth observation satellite system for the Vietnam National Space Center (VNSC). The order also includes development of a ground system and local human capacity building programs related to satellite development processes, and is expected to be worth approximately US$186 million (approximately 20 billion yen).
The satellite is scheduled to launch around 2023 and will contribute to measures against natural disasters and climate change in Vietnam as the first satellite system that NEC provides outside of Japan.
The LOTUSat-1 Earth observation satellite will be equipped with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and developed based on NEXTAR, a standard satellite system that leverages NEC’s long-standing expertise and enables rapid delivery times, reduced costs, and high functionality. The LOTUSat-1 will also feature systems modeled after the ASNARO-2 radar observation satellite that is currently in operation.
NEC will provide a completed ground system, including a 9 meter-diameter parabolic antenna, satellite control center, and mission data utilization center and user interface which is based on NEC’s “GroundNEXTAR” software package. The system will be installed at a space center in Hoa Lac being established and operated by the VNSC.
NEC will also support the development of local human resources by providing training in technology related to satellite development and operation processes, which will contribute to improving monitoring capabilities and enhancing the ability to forecast natural disasters.
This is the first satellite project by a Japanese company using Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under its Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) program.