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China bids to build 2nd Bolivian satellite
June 6, 2014, 5:23 am

Aymara Indigenous people attend the inauguration of the Bolivian satellite earth station in El Alto, Bolivia, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. Bolivia launched their first satellite named "Tupac Katari", in honor to an Indian leader who was killed during a revolt against Spanish rule, from a launch site in China on Dec. 20. 2013 [AP]

Aymara Indigenous people attend the inauguration of the Bolivian satellite earth station in El Alto, Bolivia, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. Bolivia launched their first satellite named “Tupac Katari”, in honor to an Indian leader who was killed during a revolt against Spanish rule, from a launch site in China on Dec. 20. 2013 [AP]

China has officially bid to build an exploration satellite for Bolivia, officials said on Friday.

The Bolivian Space Agency (ABE) said Thursday confirmed received a bid from China to build the satellite, which would be Bolivia’s second satellite.

Bolivia’s first communications satellite, made by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), was launched on December 21 last year.

Bolivia’s space agency chief Ivan Zambrana told reporters that six transnational firms from China, Russia, France, England, Spain and the United States have formally expressed their interest in making an exploration satellite for Bolivia.

The satellite would carry out territorial surveys including soil studies and natural resources explorations, such as water and minerals that are near the earth’s surface.

The satellite, to be named after Bartolina Sisa, an indigenous leader who helped fight the Spanish colonial rule, would be launched at the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018.

According to the ABE, this project is on a smaller scale than the first one.

“The satellite is lighter, smaller, and at a much lower orbit,” said the director. “It doesn’t reach 1,000 kilometers. It will cost less.”

The ABE said it also received a bidding from France.

“We are still awaiting proposals from companies from the other four countries to choose the best option,” he said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping in a message of congratulations to Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales during the launch of the first satellite said he would push for more 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.

Xi said he hopes for more space collaboration which will promote friendly relations between the resource rich Andean nation and commodity hungry China.

The increasing Chinese role marks a shift in Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, which for decades relied on US aid.

 

 TBP and Agencies

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