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Venesat-1 is the first Venezuelan satellite.[1][2][3] It was launched at 16:53 UTC[4] on October 29, 2008[3] by a Chinese Chang Zheng 3B launch vehicle[4] from the People’s Republic of China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC).[3][4] The satellite is built by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).[5] VENESAT-1 is the UN official designation.[4] In Venezuela it is named "Simon Bolivar"[6] to commemorate[5] Latin America's 19th Century[6] independence leader. It is PRC's first contract of manufacture and space launching service for a Latin American nation.[5]


The satellite weighs 5,100 kg and has a lifespan of 15 years.[5] The total cost only for the production of the satellite is $250m.[6] The solar panels of the Simon Bolivar have 12.1 meters span. The satellite carries 12 C-band transponders (radio and TV signal), 14 Ku-band (data and high speed Internet) and Ka-band (future digital TV signal).[4]


Venesat-1 is a telecommunication satellite and will be used in broadcasting, tele-education and medical service, and is expected to improve the standard of living of the people who are residing in Venezuela's remote areas.[5] According to the governemnt of Venezuela, the satellite will provide people in remote areas with TV, radio and internet access. Its coverage will also go from southern Mexico down to central Chile and Argentina. Programme Director Luis Holder "The satellite ...will be purely for social uses and will be open to other Latin American countries." Acording Luis Marcano Gonzalez, deputy science and technology planning minister, "Venezuela covers almost one million square kilometres and we have people living in very remote areas, many of them indigenous people, who have had very little opportunity to be looked after by the Venezuelan state in terms of health and education".[6]


Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez called it 'vital event for sovereignty'. Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, also observed the launch and said "The business of telecommunications won't be private anymore; it will no longer be for the exploitation of our peoples. Now the satellite will give us that human right".[3]