Telecommunications - Bolivia

Bolivian satellite successfully launches from China

Bolivian satellite successfully launches from China

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The Bolivian satellite Tupac Katari (TKSAT-1) was successfully launched on December 20 from the Xinchang satellite launch center in China, Bolivian state news agency ABI reported.

The aircraft is expected to enter into operations in March 2014 after a three-month trial once put in orbit.

The Túpac Katari satellite was constructed in China by Chinese firm China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC). It was launched by the LM-3B/E vehicle developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). The satellite required parts manufactured in the US, France and Germany, according to the report.

The satellite will provide the government of Bolivia with data for internet access and telemedicine projects as well as distance learning.

The overall financial benefit of the Bolivian satellite Tupac Katari (TKSAT-1) is expected to reach US$600mn, according to previous reports. This figure represents the amount that may be invested by both private and state firms to develop projects associated with the launch of the aircraft.

The total cost of the satellite project is US$302mn. The project, which is jointly financed by China's Development Bank and the government of Bolivia, also stipulates the construction of terrestrial base stations in La Paz and Santa Cruz. According to the country's space agency (AEB) head Iván Zambrana, Bolivia will recover the investments made in the satellite in approximately 10 years. Zambrana also said that the satellite will generate annual revenues of nearly US$40mn for the provision of services to local and international firms.

In December 2011, Bolivia signed a contract with the Chinese firm to build the satellite, which is intended to improve communications in the country's rural areas, including TV, internet and telephony. The aircraft will also facilitate the development of civil projects like remote education and telemedicine.

The Túpac Katari satellite will have 30 transponders and a useful life of 15 years.

Several countries have already expressed interest in acquiring satellite capacity from the satellite, international press reported.