LA PAZ – Bolivia’s government has approved the creation of a space agency to manage a communications-satellite project due to be completed by 2013, Public Works Minister Walter Delgadillo said Wednesday.
The agency was created via a decree signed Wednesday during President Evo Morales’ weekly meeting with his Cabinet, Delgadillo said.
The Bolivian Space Agency will oversee implementation of the Tupac Katari satellite project, whose board of directors will be made up of representatives from six ministries, Delgadillo said.
The agency, which will initially operate out of La Paz, will promote technology transfer, human-resource development and the application of satellite-communication programs to education, defense, medicine and meteorology.
The new institution will have an initial budget of $1 million and be financed through government funding, donations and foreign loans.
Morales plans to travel to China in the second half of March to sign a contract to build the satellite, the government said, adding that the goal is for the object to be in orbit 36 months later.
Technical commissions from China and Bolivia met in January in La Paz and Santa Cruz to evaluate the Andean nation’s telecommunications infrastructure and worked on the design of the satellite, named after the leader of an Indian rebellion against the Spanish colony in the 18th century who is admired by President Morales.
An Aymara who took office in January 2006, Morales is the first indigenous president of Indian-majority Bolivia. EFE