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La Paz, Bolivia (XNA) Sep 11, 2013S
The Chinese-built Bolivian satellite Tupac Katari is undergoing testing in a space simulator to determine whether it can withstand the extreme temperatures of outer space, the Bolivian Space Agency (BSA) said Thursday.
The testing phase aims to verify the satellite's various functions and detect any possible malfunction, said Ivan Zambrana, BSA director and supervisor of the Tupac Katari project.
This "thermal vacuum" testing phase will last one month and allow the agency to make any necessary repairs prior to the scheduled launching on Dec. 20, Zambrana added.
Zambrana stressed the importance of the satellite to Bolivia's telecommunications industry, a pillar of the economy.
Last year, the industry brought in some 1.5 billion U.S. dollars. "So, a project that costs 300 million dollars for 15 years is considered normal," said Zambrana.
Tupac Katari, named in honor of a legendary indigenous hero who fought the Spanish conquerors, is set to begin service in May 2014, five months after launch.
Initially, the Bolivian government has approved a million-dollar budget to install more than 1,000 antennas throughout the country, and some 33 million dollars is being invested to build and equip two ground control stations.
Tupac Katari will use satellite platform DFH-4, designed by China.
Source: Xinhua News Agency
China National Space Administration
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