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Nigerian Satellite Launch Announced

Nigeria has become the first African nation for whom China will both make and launch a satellite, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp on Wednesday.

"China Aerospace will also help to train Nigerian technicians," said an official called Li, adding that so far China has sent 28 foreign satellites into space.

News of the launch of Dongfanghong IV, planned for 2007, came the day before Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo arrived in Beijing for a four-day state visit.

Describing the satellite export as a "milestone" for China in the international space market, Li said it will be put into orbit using a Long March 3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Space Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

In 1985, the government announced entry of its space industry into the international commercial launch market, and offered the first international commercial service in August 1987.

In April 1990, China successfully realized its first international commercial satellite launch service in Xichang, sending US-made AsiaSat 1 into space using Long March 3.

On April 12, 2005, China re-entered space after a six year-lull, sending Apstar 6 into orbit on Long March 3B, also from Xichang.

This brought the number of China-launched foreign satellites to 30 since 1990.

(China Daily, China.org.cn April 15, 2005)

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