8 October 2009

China Will Help Launch Bolivian Satellite

The Bolivian government will create a space agency that will be charged with the project to create and put into orbit the country’s own satellite, an official source has said. According to the state news agency, the Public Works minister, Wálter Delgadillo, has announced that the executive has decided to set up the Bolivian Space Agency “which will define the process, the time scale and the activities to put the satellite into orbit,” which will be constructed and financed by the Chinese.

He added that a commission made up of government representatives of Bolivia, China and the International Telecommunications Union would meet in La Paz at the end of October to evaluated the proposed technologies and identify sources to finance the project.

Evo Morales travelled to Geneva in September to settle with the ITU the granting of an orbital segment for the Bolivian satellite which will be called Túpac Katari in honour of an Indian leader who rebelled against the Spanish in the 18th century.

The same month, Morales made use of the United Nations summit on climate change in New York to meet his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, who assured him of his country’s support to construct and put into orbit the satellite.

The Bolivian government expects that the satellite could be in orbit within a period of no more than 36 months, with the expectation that it will guarantee total coverage of the telecommunication services in the country and reduce costs, Delgadillo explained.

He pointed out that currently state enterprises and entities who need this services pay around $10 million a year to rent out channels from foreign satellites. “When Bolivia has its own satellite, those costs will reduce by at least a half without taking into account the added value of using it in diverse areas which sustain development,” he said.

The Bolivian government calculates that the project will require an investment of between $200 and $300 million.

Source: El Púbico.es

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