China will sell a communications satellite to Nigeria, the first overseas buyer of a satellite made by China's space sector, a spokesperson for China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. said Tuesday.
Describing the sale as a "milestone" in the history of the country's space industry, the spokesperson said the deal represents a major breakthrough for Chinese satellite manufacturers.
According to the deal signed between the space administration of Nigeria and the China Great Wall Industrial Corporation, the satellite is known as Dongfanghong (The East is red) IV.
The deal was signed on Dec. 15, 2004.
The satellite, which has 28 transponders, will be put into the orbit by a Long March 3 B carrier rocket at the Xichang Space Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
As part of the deal, China will also launch the satellite atop its Chinese-made Long March carrier rocket, said the spokesperson.
The satellite will be monitored and tracked by a ground station in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, and a ground station in Kashi in northwest Xinjiang Ugyur Autonomous Region.
China Aerospace will also be responsible for training Nigerian technicians.
Since 1985, China has launched more than 20 commercial satellites and sent 30 foreign satellites into space using Long March carrier rockets.
China announced in 1985 its decision to enter the international commercial launch market, and it successfully launched a US made-satellite AsiaSat-1 in 1990.
(Xinhua News Agency April 13, 2005)