Beijing, Dec 21: China successfully sent a Bolivian communications satellite into orbit with its Long March-3B carrier rocket from southwest Xichang Satellite Launch Centre early Saturday, Xinhua reported.
The satellite, produced by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) with a designed longevity of 15 years, is Bolivia’s first communications satellite. It will be used in areas including broadcasting, education and medical services.
Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales Ayma was present on this occasion, the first time a foreign head of state has witnessed a satellite launch in China.
The satellite is named Tupac Katari in homage to an 18th century indigenous hero who fought Bolivia’s Spanish colonizers.
The satellite agreement was signed between the Bolivian Space Agency (ABE) and the Great Wall Industry Corporation of China, a subsidiary of CASC, in December 2010.
It is the fifth Chinese communications satellite for international users and the second in-orbit delivery for a Latin American customer. China launched a telecom satellite for Venezuela in 2008.