Sri Lanka yesterday launched its first communication satellite into the orbit becoming the 45th country in the world to have its own satellite.
Sri Lanka's first communications satellite SupremeSAT - I was launched at local time 3:43 p.m., on board China's Long March 3B/E Launch Vehicle from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.
The launch was scheduled earlier for November 22 but was postponed due to bad weather.
The US$320 million satellite was launched by the SupremeSAT (Pvt) Ltd in collaboration with China's state owned China Great Wall Industry Corporation.
According to SupremeSAT, the satellite was deployed at 87.5E in the Geo-stationary orbit approximately 36,000 km above the surface of the earth and has a design life of 15 years.
"The launch of this satellite will be the beginning of more such ventures that will help promote Foreign Direct Investment, increase export earnings to the country, and help greatly in the transfer of technology within and outside this Region," President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a message to mark the launch.
Sri Lanka is the third country in the South Asia region to have its own satellite. India and Pakistan already have their satellites in orbit.
A company statement said the SupremeSAT will be capable of providing communications services, including broadband Internet, telecom and broadcasting and will cover parts of the Middle East, South and Central Asia and also Australia.
The total investment for the project is estimated at US$ 360 million which also included the construction of a satellite Content Management Station and a Space Academy in Kandy which is now in progress.
The satellite will be operational for commercial purposes in the region by early June 2013.