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China launches first communication satellite for Laos

BEIJING, Nov.21(Xinhuanet) -- China has launched a communication satellite developed for Laos, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, in southwest China's Sichuan Province. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Lao counterpart, Choummaly Sayasone, have sent each other congratulatory messages marking the successful launch.

"Lao Sat-1" is the first satellite that China has exported to an ASEAN country, and it will be Laos' first communication satellite. China tailored it to meet specific requirements from Laos. It will provide services like live television broadcasting, wireless broadband access and international communication, to the country.

This satellite is expected to play an important role for a country that is still in the early stages of developing its communication infrastructure. The design for Lao Sat-1 was based on China's existing technologies.

Mainstream communication satellites in China are mostly based on the Dongfanghong-4 platform. This has powerful functions, but it is not the best choice for Laos.

Zhou Zhicheng, the director of the Communications Satellite Department of the China Academy of Space Technology, is the chief engineer for the project.

"Dongfanghong-4 is too big for Laos. So we have given a design with better cost performance. For example, in the past, we used nickel-metal hydride battery in the power system. One power unit would weigh more than 230 kilograms. But now we are using lithium ion battery, which could reduce the weight to within 100 kilograms," Zhou said.

Because of technical breakthroughs like this, the total weight of the satellite is less than 4 tons. But it comes with high expectations.

"Currently Laos can only use satellites rented from other countries. Now it has its own satellite. People could enjoy more diversified TV programs. Besides, many mountainous areas in north Laos have no communication connections like this. With this new satellite, people living in the mountains could have a better understanding of the outside world," said Han Qingping, CEO of China Asia-Pacific Mobile Telecom. Satellite Co.

The satellite also provides wireless broadband services, offering high-speed data services to Laos, and other countries along the Maritime Silk Road.

It will become a significant platform for information and culture connectivity between these countries.

Apart from the satellite itself, China has also helped Laos build a satellite earth station. This project saw many Lao technicians coming to China for training during the construction period.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/video/2015-11/21/c_134840504.htm

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We liked the Elephant Trekking in Champasak and the shopping in the Pakse markets. J&S Gentner.
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