Vietnam’s first satellite, Vinasat-1, is now on the Kourou launch pad in French Guyana and is scheduled to be shot into orbit on 2 April 2008. It will circle the earth at 132 degrees east, a position that Vietnam registered with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 1999. Vinasat, which will be operated by incumbent telco Vietnam Post and Telecoms (VNPT)’s international telephony arm Vietnam Telecom International (VTI), will be able to provide more than 200 digital television channels and tens of thousands of data transmission and telephone channels. The USD180 million satellite will will cover the entire country, providing telecoms services to all remaining unserved areas. Beyond Vietnam’s borders, its footprint will also extend into Southeast Asia, and parts of China, Korea, and Japan. Vinasat, built by US contractor Lockheed Martin, will have a lifespan of 15 years, and will save the country around USD15 million annually on hiring satellites.