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Female scientist helps create camera for space satellite

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Vietnam will launch Micro Dragon into space by the end of this year. The person who built the camera, considered the heart of the optical satellite, is female scientist Nguyen Thi Thao, officer at the Vietnam Space Center.

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Vietnam will launch Micro Dragon into space by the end of this year


To develop human resources in aerospace technology, the Vietnam Space Center
under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology sent 36 officers to Japan to study at Japanese universities for a master’s degree. Nguyen Thi Thao was the only woman among the first 11 officers going to Japan under the program. 

Thao and another colleague studied at Hokkaido University. 

The staff of the Center is involved in manufacturing Micro Dragon satellite under the guidance of GS Japan and instruction of Japanese professors.

Micro Dragon is an Earth observation satellite weighing 50kg, with a size of 50 x 50 x 50 cm. Thao and her colleagues were assigned an important task: design the mission block of the satellite. 

As space technology is a new industry in Vietnam, there are few materials about it available in Vietnamese. Thao and her colleagues had to refer to documents in English and took a huge workload. Micro Dragon is an optical satellite, so the camera is the soul  of the satellite.

Thao said she usually worked at the laboratory until 2-3 am and sometimes spent sleepless night through months.

“On rush days, I had to work 16 hours a day. As a woman, I could not sleep at the laboratory. I had to come back to the rented rooms at the end of day,” she said. 

It is very cold in Hokkaido and snows six months a year. To have good health for intensive work, she exercises and goes trekking. Since few Japanese speak English, Thao had to learn Japanese for daily communication.

The great efforts made by Thao and her colleagues have been rewarded. Micro Dragon successfully tested and will receive a safety certificate from Japanese agencies. 

After getting the certificate, the Epsilon missile manufactured by IHI Aerospace will take Vietnam’s Micro Dragon into orbit, slated for the end of this year.

After launch, Micro Dragon will observe coastal waters to assess water quality, locate fisheries resources, and monitor changes in coastal waters to serve aquaculture in Vietnam. It will also detect cloud cover, aerosol properties for atmospheric correction, capture sensor signals on the ground, and then transfer data to many locations on Earth. 


Source: VietNamNet

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