People’s Daily reported that the first communication satellite Túpac Katari that China launched has affected the role that Bolivia plays in its ability to broadcast such issues as education and tele-medicine. The article quoted Ivan Sambra, the director of the Bolivian Space Agency, who said that from January to April 2019, the commercial services provided by Bolivia brought about US$ 8 million in economic income to the Bolivian government. Over the past five years, the satellite has helped Bolivia accumulate more than $100 million in revenue.
On December 21, 2013, Túpac Katari was successfully launched at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China, making Bolivia the sixth country in Latin America to have satellites after Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela. The satellite was named after the national hero of Bolivia’s 18th century anti-colonial ruler. The China Academy of Space Technology which is affiliated with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation developed it. It used the Dongfanghong-4 satellite platform with a design life of 15 years. Túpac Katari provides coverage for at least 26 radio stations and 30 local TV channels for the Bolivian people free of charge. At present, the utilization rate of the satellite has reached 70 percent. According to the plan of the Bolivian Space Agency, by the end of this year, Túpac Katari will be running at full capacity. It is reported that the service scope of Túpac Katari has also extended to Colombia.
Ivan Sambra also stated that in the future, Bolivia will also launch a second satellite for Earth observation, and China will be the preferred partner.
Source: People’s Daily, May 11, 2019