China to develop, launch satellite for DR Congo
Beijing: Continuing with its "satellite diplomacy", China said it would launch a satellite for Democratic Republic of Congo, which would become the second African country after Nigeria to get one from Beijing.
China Great Wall Industry Corp will launch DRC`s first satellite, which will also be developed by China, before the end of 2015, state-run China Daily reported.
The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Ninth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as the Zhuhai Airshow, the report said without disclosing the financial details.
The CongoSat 1 design will be based on the DFH 4 satellite platform, capable of covering DRC and all the central and southern parts of the African continent through the advanced transponders.
China will build ground control and training facilities and will train satellite-control personnel for the client, the report said.
The deal marks the second time that China has exported a satellite to African nations, following the NigComSat 1 launched in 2007 for Nigeria.
"Today is a big day, a historic day, for us," Richard Achinda Wahilungula, director-general of the Congolese network, said after signing the contract.
"Compared with Western nations, China`s satellite technology may arguably not be the most advanced, but it definitely suits the demand of Africa," he said.
"China has reduced African countries` satellite operation costs and trained a great number of professionals for us," Bode Agusto, who was senior budget adviser to former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, said.
China Great Wall Industry Corp has completed three international contracts in 2012, including the launch of VesselSat 2 for European space systems contractor LuxSpace and VRSS 1, a remote-sensing satellite for Venezuela. It launched a similar satellite for Pakistan.
As of now, Great Wall Corp has launched 35 rockets carrying a total of 41 satellites for foreign clients.
It has also provided seven piggyback launch services to foreign clients.
According to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, China aims to take up 10 per cent of the international satellite market and 15 per cent in the world`s commercial launch field by the end of 2015.
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