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Vietnam: we're going to space

Communist state plans SE Asia's most advanced space center
Vietnam satellite 2011 11 18Enlarge
Chinese scientists monitor the docking of the Tiangong-1 space lab module and the Shenzhou VIII spacecraft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the northwestern province of Gansu. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Vietnam plans to pour $600 million into building Southeast Asia's most advanced space center, according to state media.

Vietnam's communist party announced that, with Japan's help, they'll have a Hanoi-based center up and running by 2018.

The center "will form a hub for research and installation of small satellites to meet demands for weather forecasting, research and disaster management," said the party in a statement.

China is, of course, the emerging Asian space power with spacecraft that can dock and plans to walk on the moon by 2020, according to the New York Times.

By that time, Vietnam hopes to be producing small satellites, reports China Daily.