Bolivian communications satellite to be launched in December
The director of the Bolivian Space Agency, Ivan Zambrana, has confirmed that the Chinese-funded communications satellite Tupac Katari will be launched into space on 20 December 2013. Satellite Tupac Katari will reduce the cost of telecommunications not only in Bolivia but additionally in other Latin American countries that will have access to it. Mr. Zambrana recognized the relevance of the telecommunications sector to the national GDP stating that "last year the turnover of telecommunications companies exceeded USD 1.5 trn in a single year" during a press conference.
The construction of the satellite is a joint project between the Bolivian government and Chinese company Great Wall that was signed as a bilateral trade agreement in December 2010 with a total cost of USD 300 million. Over 60 Bolivian nationals are currently being trained in China, learning how to operate the earth station of the satellite located in the city of El Alto in Bolivia’s Amachuma region.