Sri Lanka's first satellite launched

 Sri Lanka's first communication satellite developed by a private company was Tuesday launched by a Chinese state-owned firm from a space centre in China, Xinhua reported.

The satellite is a joint venture between Sri Lankan company SupremeSAT (Pvt) Ltd and China Great Wall Industry Corp. It was launched from the Xi Chang satellite launch centre in Sichuan province.

The satellite, SupremeSAT-1, will provide communications services including broadband internet, telecom and broadcasting services to the Middle East, South and Central Asia and Australia.

The launch was initially expected to take place Nov 22 but was postponed due to bad weather.

The total investment for the project is estimated at $320 million. This includes the construction of a satellite Content Management Station and a Space Academy in Sri Lanka's central town of Kandy.

"This is a proud moment for us as citizens of Sri Lanka," Vijith Peiris, group chief executive officer of SupremeSAT, was quoted as saying.

With the successful launch, Sri Lanka became the 45th country to own a communication satellite and becomes the third south Asian country to have launched a satellite after India and Pakistan.

The Sri Lankan Board of Investment entered into an agreement with SupremeSAT earlier this year to launch the satellite.

The satellite will be positioned above Sri Lanka in a geo-stationary orbit at 87.5 degree east, approximately 36,000 km above the surface of the earth.

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