Vietnam’s first remote sensing satellite, VNREDSat-1, has captured more than 21,000 images since being launched into orbit in May 2013, the National Remote Sensing Centre announced on February 24.

Of the total, some 5,600 images have less than 10 percent cloud cover and are thus usable, according to the department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. About a quarter of the total images are of Vietnamese territory.

VNREDSat-1 was launched into orbit on May 7, 2013, from the Kourou launch pad, Guiana, France. Its operation has been under Vietnam’s control since September 4.

The satellite is said to be capable of capturing images of all areas in the world and expected to assist efforts to deal with flooding, forest fire, oil overflow and other incidents quickly and effectively.

The VNREDSat-1 project has a total investment of 55.8 million EUR sourced by the French government's Official Development Assistance and the Vietnamese side's contribution of nearly 65 billion VND (around 3.2 million USD).

The satellite was designed and built by Astrium SAS, an affiliate of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).-VNA