Vietnam ’s second satellite, Vinasat 2, will be sent into orbit by 2012 with an estimated cost of between 290 and 350 million USD, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications.

The launch of Vinasat 2 is aimed at promoting the development of Vietnam ’s telecommunication market and satellite information technology in order to satisfy customers’ rising demand, the ministry said.

The country’s first satellite, Vinasat 1, was launched in April last year from a space port in South America . With this event, Vietnam became the 93 rd country in the world and the 6 th within the region to send satellite into orbit.

Built by the US 's Lockheed Martin at the cost of 250 million USD, Vinasat 1 is currently broadcasting all over Vietnam and capable of sending signals to Laos , Cambodia and Thailand .

The satellite not only plays a critical role as a communication link that connects Vietnam with other countries in the region and the world, but it also helps speed up the country’s efforts in bringing telecommunication services, Internet and radio and TV broadcasts to remote and isolated areas as well as border areas and offshore islands.

Only one year after the satellite was put into operation, up to 70 percent of Vinasat 1’s capacity has been registered for use and it is expected that by 2010, its entire capacity will be leased out, according to the Vietnam Posts and Telecoms Group, or VNPT./.