Ensuring Satellite Benefits A Challenge For Laos
Source: Vientiane Times
The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has noted that the biggest challenge for Laos’ first satellite is to ensure it can gain as much benefit from the space asset as it can after LaoSAT1 was handed over to the government.
Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Mr Hiem Phommachanh represented the Lao government to receive LaoSAT-1’s In-Orbit Delivery and witness the opening of the Lao Asia-Pacific Satellite Company Limited.The minister stressed the importance of gaining the maximum benefits for the country from the satellite.
“In particular, in the economic sense, how can we make profits in order to pay off the loan and save to buy a new satellite after the old one expires in 15 years’ time,” Mr Hiem said.
The minister added that the satellite business is new for Laos but the government has confidence in the satellite partnership company ‘Lao Asia-Pacific Satellite Company Limited.’
Although the government of Laos will hold a greater share than other partners they still believe that those partners will help Laos to overcome the challenges and benefit the country in the future.
The ministry and the related Chinese companies held a ceremonial handover of the first satellite to Laos as well as the official launching of Lao Asia-Pacific Satellite Company Limited.
Mr Hiem Phommachanh ( left ) represents the Lao government to receive the first Lao satellite from Vice General Manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, Mr Yang Baohua in Vientiane on Wednesday.
Mr Hiem said communication via satellite is a new technology in this era and to implement the policy of integration, the government pursued everything to make it happen and finally, Laos launched the LaoSAT-1 satellite.
Work on the satellite project began in 2008 but was delayed while funding was procured. Then in 2012, the Lao government signed a US$259 million loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China.
In November 2015, the LaoSAT-1 satellite was launched into space and until now the experiments relating to the satellite’s technical capabilities have proved it is fully functional for telecommunications.
The satellite was launched from China into the 128.5 degrees East orbital slot, which has been specifically allocated to Laos.
The satellite launch is part of government efforts to propel the country towards industrialisation and employ advanced technology for telecommunications.
Vice General Manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) Mr Yang Baohua said the launch of the first Lao satellite into orbit recently was also the first time for CASC to launch a satellite in an Asean country, and it had helped to improve aerospace science and technology between Laos and China.
“The satellite will lift up the image of Laos on the international stage and it will also push the level of Lao science and technology development as well as socio-economic and cultural developments. We believe that the cooperation between the CASC and Laos will be improved and enlarged to new levels in the country,” Mr Yang said.
The LaoSAT-1 satellite represents a new technology for Laos which can help further the country’s socio-economic development and boost the quality of telecommunications in Laos.
However it still a challenge for the government and those shareholders to ensure adequate benefits for the country in the future, in particular local people by allowing low cost telecommunications, which is something everyone is looking for.