Bolivia Launches First Telecommunications Satellite

Bolivia China Long March

A Long March 3B rocket, one of China’s primary launch vehicles. Photo: Wikipedia

[Via Satellite 12-24-13] On Friday Dec. 20, 2013, Bolivia launched its first telecommunications satellite, designated Tupak Katari. The launch took place at 16:42 UTC onboard a Long March 3B rocket from China’s Xichang satellite launch center.

Bolivian president Evo Morales traveled to China to watch the launch, making him the first foreign head of state to witness a launch in China. In Bolivia, hundreds of people watched the rocket take off on a giant screen outside the country’s parliament building located at Plaza de Armas, La Paz.

Tupak Katari carries 30 transponders (26 Ku-band, two Ka-band and two C-band), and will begin on-orbit operations at 87.2 degrees west longitude. The satellite has a design lifetime of 15 years. It is named in honor of an 18th century indigenous leader who resisted Spanish colonization.

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