China and Venezuela plan to cooperate on future satellite projects following formal handover of a remote-sensing satellite built and launched by the Chinese last fall.
Chinese and Venezuelan officials met in early March and signed documents formally closing the delivery contract for Venezuela’s Miranda satellite, also called VRSS-1, which was launched Sept. 29 from China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, according to a report posted March 25 on China’s government-run National Defense Science and Technology Information website.
Miranda, built by the China Academy of Space and launched by a Long March 2 rocket, was the first remote-sensing satellite put into orbit by the Chinese for an international client, in this case the Venezuelan Ministry of People’s Power for Science, Technology and Innovation.
“Hereafter, China will also support Venezuela in future satellite operations, data gathering activity and related work,” the report said.
The report said China hopes to increase sales and deliveries of remote-sensing satellites for international clients.
Miranda was Venezuela’s second satellite ordered from and launched by China. The first, a communications device called the Simon Bolivar, has been in orbit since 2008.
Miranda’s Earth-observation equipment is designed to provide images and data for farming, urban planning, environmental protection, natural disaster relief and the oil industry. The Venezuelan government said last year it would spend $35 million for the satellite’s development and launch.
Miranda’s first image was successfully transmitted Oct. 1, the Chinese government website report said. China also trained more than 50 Venezuelan technicians, built a ground control system at the Manuel Ríos Bamari Terrestrial Satellite Control Base, and installed a ground application system in Caracas.
All operations were later handed over to Venezuela’s Bolivarian Agency for Space Activities.
In addition to Venezuela, China has built and launched satellites for Nigeria and Pakistan. It plans to launch a communications satellite sometime this year for Bolivia and a similar device for Laos in 2015.