Venezuela launches first satellite with Chinese technology by Staff Writers Caracas (AFP) Oct 29, 2008 Venezuela entered the space age Wednesday as its first satellite, built with Chinese technology and launched from China, blasted into orbit. Named after Simon Bolivar, the hero of South American independence, the communications satellite Venesat-1 is a "construction of socialism" and a symbol of Latin American integration, according Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Chavez, accompanied by fellow leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales, monitored the launch from the eastern town of Luepa, and afterwards praised the operation as an example of socialist virtues. "A capitalist business launches a satellite to make money. This is an act of freedom and independence," Chavez said. "This satellite is not for us but for the people of Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a further step towards independence," he said, adding that the project would break the mold of "technological illiteracy." During its 15-year lifespan the Simon Bolivar satellite will cover Venezuela's "brother countries" to streamline telecommunications and develop "social programs such as literacy or telemedicine," according to Science and Technology Minister Nuris Orihuela. The satellite, the construction of which began in 2002, cost Venezuela 241 million dollars, along with 165 million dollars for two communication headquarters. The Simon Bolivar will orbit the Earth at 36000 kilometers (22300 miles). The <b>...</b>
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