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China puts Bolivian satellite into the orbit

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Bolivia's first communications satellite 'Tupac Katari.' Photo: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)

BEIJING (PTI): China has put a Bolivian communications satellite into orbit aboard its rocket launched from the country's southwest.

The satellite, produced by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), is Bolivia's first communications satellite and is expected to be operational for the next 15 years.

Bolivian President Evo Morales was present at the centre on Saturday during the launch of the Long March-3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, the first foreign head of state to witness the launch of a Chinese rocket.

The satellite is named Tupac Katari, paying homage to an 18th century indigenous hero who fought Spanish colonisers.

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.

Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated President Morales, saying the successful development and launch of the satellite is the latest achievement of cooperation between China and Bolivia in the field of science and technology.

"The satellite will play an important role for Bolivia to improve its broadcasting, education and medical services. It will make important contributions to promote cooperation between China and Latin American countries," Xi said.

The agreement to develop the satellite was signed between the Bolivian Space Agency (ABE) and the Great Wall Industry Corporation of China, a subsidiary of CASC, in December 2010.

This is the fifth time that China has successfully put on communications satellite into the orbit for a foreign customer and the second for a Latin American customer.

China launched a telecom satellite for Venezuela in 2008.

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