VeneSat-1, also known as Simón Bolívar (after Venezuelan independence fighter Simón Bolívar), was the first Venezuelan satellite.[3] It was designed, built and launched by the CGWIC subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.[3] It was a communications satellite operating from a geosynchronous orbit. It was launched on a Chinese Long March 3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center Launch Complex 2 on 29 October 2008 at 16:53 UTC.[9]

NamesSimón Bolívar
Mission typeCommunication
COSPAR ID2008-055A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.33414
Mission durationPlanned: 15 years[1]
Final: 11 years, 4 months, 24 days[2]
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerChina Academy of Space Technology[4]
Launch mass5,049 kg (11,131 lb)[3]
Dimensions2.36 × 2.1 × 4 m (7.7 × 6.9 × 13.1 ft)[5]
Power7.75 kW[4]
Start of mission
Launch date29 October 2008, 16:53 (2008-10-29UTC16:53) UTC[6]
RocketLong March 3B/E[4]
Launch siteXichang, LC-2[3]
Entered serviceJanuary 2009[1]
End of mission
DisposalLoss of spacecraft
Declared25 March 2020 (2020-03-26)[2]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Longitude78° West[1]
Semi-major axis42,448.3 km (26,376.2 mi)
Perigee altitude35,830.4 km (22,264.0 mi)
Apogee altitude36,309.9 km (22,561.9 mi)
Epoch24 March 2020, 05:04:06 UTC[7]
Band14 × C band
12 × Ku band
2 × Ka band[8]
Coverage areaSouth America (C band)
Venezuela region (Ku and Ka)[8]


VeneSat-1 was operated by Venezuela's Bolivarian Agency for Space Activities (ABAE).[1] The satellite was built on the Chinese DFH-4 satellite bus.[3] It had a mass of 5,049 kilograms (11,131 lb) and an expected service life of 15 years.[3] It had a payload of 14 C-band, 12 Ku-band, and 2 Ka-band transponders.[8] The satellite occupied an orbital slot of 78° West, designated for Uruguay and ceded to Venezuela by mutual accord.[10] The satellite provided television broadcasting and broadband connectivity services.[11]

Since 13 March 2020, VeneSat-1 has been out of service after a series of maneuvers left it tumbling and drifting away from its assigned orbital position.[1] Seradata reported that the satellite lost both of its solar array drives between February and March 2020, leading to a loss of power for the spacecraft. The operator attempted to perform an emergency move of the spacecraft to a graveyard orbit, but evidently, only the apogee engine burn was successful while the perigee burn failed. It is suggested that the spacecraft may have run out of power during the perigee attempt,[12] or that it may have exhausted its fuel supply.[2] As of 23 March 2020, VeneSat-1 was in an elliptical orbit of approximately 36,300 by 35,800 kilometres (22,600 by 22,200 mi), which placed its perigee approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) above the normal geosynchronous orbit. It had also drifted west by 30°.[1]

On 24 March 2020, the Venezuelan government switched the majority of the functions of VeneSat-1 to the American Intelsat 14.[13][better source needed] The following day, Venezuela's Ministry of Science and Technology declared that the satellite had been lost and its mission ended. VeneSat-1 failed three years before its expected end of life.[11]


Venezuela's work on Venesat-1 was conducted in part to amplify regional network Telesur's programming by enabling it to avoid geo-blocking efforts by DirectTV, an American company.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Henry, Caleb (23 March 2020). "Venezuela's flagship communications satellite out of service and tumbling". SpaceNews. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Rueda, Manuel (27 March 2020). "Venezuela's only telecoms satellite is lost in space". Associated Press. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "VeneSat-1 (Simon Bolivar 1)". Gunter's Space Page. 12 November 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "In-Orbit Delivery: VeneSat-1 Program". China Great Wall Industry Corporation. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Especificaciones VENESAT-1". ABAE. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  6. ^ "VeneSat 1". NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive. NASA. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  7. ^ "VeneSat-1 - Orbit". Heavens-Above. 24 March 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "Venesat 1". Satbeams. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  9. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (29 October 2008). "China launch VENESAT-1 - debut bird for Venezuela". Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  10. ^ "Un éxito la puesta en órbita del satélite". Panorama. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2009.[dead link]
  11. ^ a b Henry, Caleb (30 March 2020). "Solar array problem killed Venezuela's VeneSat-1, officials confirm". SpaceNews. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  12. ^ Todd, David (23 March 2020). "Venesat is retired to graveyard after suspected power issue". Seradata. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  13. ^ Suárez, Víctor (25 March 2020). "Asesinado el satélite Simón Bolívar". Runrunes (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  14. ^ Davis, Stuart (2023). Sanctions as War: Anti-Imperialist Perspectives on American Geo-Economic Strategy. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-64259-812-4. OCLC 1345216431.

External linksEdit