Paraguay to vote on aerospace agency bill in 2014

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Paraguay is planning to launch its first satellite pending the approval of a bill in 2014 to create aerospace agency Aaepar, according to local news agency Última Hora.

The bill would have been approved this year, but changes made to it by the senate have meant that it must be reconsidered by the lower house, according to David Ocampos of Paraguayan ICT ministry Senatics.

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Paraguay's satellite would be primarily for taking current images of the country that are outdated in services such as Google Maps. The launch of an imaging satellite would benefit agriculture, reforestation and infrastructure by producing images of works in development, among its other functions, said Ocampos.

While satellites cost between US$500,000 and US$500mn, the planned imaging satellite in Paraguay would be less expensive than the telecom satellite launched by Bolivia last week. Unlike Bolivia where territorial problems prevent complete fiber optic cable penetration, Paraguay already has 100% teledensity.

Other Latin American nations have also expressed interest in expanding satellite coverage as well as constructing their own launch facilities in recent weeks. Argentina recently announced it was conducting studies for a US$320mn rocket launch pad in Buenos Aires province.

Venezuela is also considering the possibility of its own satellite launch pad for member states of the Bolivian Alliance for the People (ALBA) such as Ecuador, Nicaragua and Cuba. Venezuela's plan follows three satellite launches with China from 2008 and the construction of its own small satellite factory earlier this year.