Chavez cherishes his Chinese-built satellite
By Peter J Brown
Last October, a new Chinese-built US$241 million communications satellite called Simon Bolivar or Venesat-1 was launched from China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China on a CZ-3B rocket. It is owned by Venezuela. Uruguay also obtained a 10% stake in this satellite because Venesat-1 now occupies an orbital slot - essentially a parking space for a satellite approximately around 35,900 kilometers above Earth - assigned to Uruguay.
Thanks to this Chinese-built satellite, Venezuela's space agency - known as the Bolivarian Agency for Space Activities - has now joined an elite group in Latin America with working satellites. This elite includes Mexico, Brazil - which has enjoyed strong ties for many years with China in space - and Argentina. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/KH06Ad02.html
Geopolitics and satellites--taking human matters into space. What would the millions of dollars have bought in services and goods for the people had it been spent on them rather than one big orbiting device and training?
Now I want to draw your attention to one (maybe two!) of the latest additions to the space junk circuit:
The writer indicates that there are stories of the Venezuelan satellite not operating properly, contrary to what officials are saying.Venesat-1 is a so-called DFH-4. Over the past three years, two other DFH-4 satellites have suffered total failures including the above-mentioned Nigcomsat-1.
For CGWIC in particular, which oversees all Chinese satellite exports and serves as China's commercial satellite launch provider, Venesat-1 is an ideal opportunity.
As other nations may soon want to go down this same path, and with Nigeria's satellite - the first communications satellite that China ever sold to a foreign country - now out of service, Venezuela operates China's only foreign satellite communications venture. The fact that Venezuela has openly proclaimed that this satellite would play an important role for the entire region, and that it would not simply become another platform for satellite TV is important. At the time of the launch, Chavez said that Venesat-1 would be used for telecommunications, distance education, tele-medicine, and cultural programs as part of his country's leap forward to the 22nd century.