Bolivia planning second satellite launch by 2021

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Head of Bolivian space agency says TKSAT-1 is currently operating at 70% capacity

Bolivia has unveiled ambitions to place a second telecoms satellite in orbit, three years after launching Tupac Katari 1 (TKSAT-1).

TKSAT-1 was launched in December 2013 and went in to operation the following April. According to the director of the Bolivian Space Agency (ABE) Ivan Zambrana, it is currently operating at 70% capacity.

Speaking to EFE, Zambrana said: “We think that in another year we'll be above 80 or 85 percent, which is almost the commercial physical limit for a satellite ... But we haven't stopped meeting the objectives that led us to launch it, which is for all Bolivians to have communications services.

"That makes us think that we need a second satellite. And that second satellite, which is also going to be paid for within its operating life, is a highly viable project. With that criterion, we've started working on that project,"

The second satellite will launch in 2020 or 2021, and will be called TKSAT-2, although Zambrana said he expected it to cost less than the $300 million spent on TKSAT-1.

During its first year, TKSAT-1 produced an income of $7 million, although this figure topped $25 million in 2016.