A ceremony took place at the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Zone in Hanoi on September 19 to break the ground for Vietnam’s first Space Centre.

Once completed in 2020, it will be the most modern centre of its kind in Southeast Asia.

The centre will be built on a 9 hectare site in the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Zone for a total cost of nearly 700 million USD.

Of the investment, more than 587 million USD has been funded by the Japanese Government’s ODA source and the rest came from the Vietnamese Government.

Speaking at the ceremony, Japan’s Ambassador to Vietnam Yasuaki Tanizaki, said he was delighted that the first step of construction was underway, which he described as a huge contribution to the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Zone.

He said he hopes the centre will help advance Vietnam ’s Space Technology Strategy until 2020.

Once fully operational, the centre will be able to design, produce, install, test and control smaller satellites and ensure they are operational in all weather conditions.

It will help early warn of natural and environmental disasters, forecast the agricultural output and marine resources and update electronic maps for land management, as well as serve research on global climate change.

The centre will also be able to train 350 scientists and specialist technicians in space technologies.-VNA