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China launches telecom satellite for Venezuela

RIA Novosti

30/10/2008 09:56 BEIJING, October 30 (RIA Novosti) - China has successfully launched a carrier rocket with a Venezuelan telecommunications satellite on board, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

A Long March 3 rocket lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China at 00:53 local time on Thursday (16:53 GMT Wednesday).

The Venezuela-1 Telecom satellite, developed and built by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, weighs over 5 tons and has a 15-year service life.

It is the first Venezuelan satellite designed to provide broadcasting and other telecommunications services to customers in South America and the Caribbean.

The spacecraft has been dubbed the "Simon Bolivar Satellite" after the South American revolutionary.

China is also helping Venezuela to build several satellite monitoring stations on the territory of the Latin American country.

Oil-rich Venezuela has strengthened ties with China since leftist President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999 and launched what he calls his "Bolivarian" social revolution.

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