Bolivia’s Tupac Katari (TKSAT-1) satellite was launched successfully late last week from the Xinchang satellite launch centre in China, BNamericas reports, citing Bolivian state news agency ABI. With the orbiter expected to begin commercial operation in March 2014, a three-month trial will now get underway, once TKSAT-1 is put in place.
Having been constructed by Chinese firm China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), the satellite was launched by the LM-3B/E vehicle developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). The total cost of the satellite project is said to stand at USD302 million, and is jointly financed by China’s Development Bank and the government of Bolivia. Commenting on the launch, Ivan Zambrana, head of the Bolivian space agency, said that the country expects to recover the investments made in the satellite in approximately ten years. Further, Zambrana also notes that the satellite will generate annual revenues of nearly USD40 million for the provision of services to local and international firms.
With the satellite expected to help improve communications in Bolivia’s rural regions, it will also facilitate the development of civil projects like remote education and telemedicine. TKSAT-1 will have 30 transponders and a useful life of 15 years, and several countries are already said to have expressed an interest in acquiring satellite capacity from it.