VeneSat-1, also known as Simón Bolívar (after Venezuelan independence fighter Simón Bolívar), was the first Venezuelan satellite. It was designed, built and launched by the CGWIC subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. 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.
|Mission duration||Planned: 15 years|
Final: 11 years, 4 months, 24 days
|Manufacturer||China Academy of Space Technology|
|Launch mass||5,049 kg (11,131 lb)|
|Dimensions||2.36 × 2.1 × 4 m (7.7 × 6.9 × 13.1 ft)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||29 October 2008, 16:53UTC|
|Rocket||Long March 3B/E|
|Launch site||Xichang, LC-2|
|Entered service||January 2009|
|End of mission|
|Disposal||Loss of spacecraft|
|Declared||25 March 2020|
|Semi-major axis||42,448.3 km (26,376.2 mi)|
|Perigee altitude||35,830.4 km (22,264.0 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||36,309.9 km (22,561.9 mi)|
|Epoch||24 March 2020, 05:04:06 UTC|
|Band||14 × C band |
12 × Ku band
2 × Ka band
|Coverage area||South America (C band) |
Venezuela region (Ku and Ka)
VeneSat-1 was operated by Venezuela's Bolivarian Agency for Space Activities (ABAE). The satellite was built on the Chinese DFH-4 satellite bus. It had a mass of 5,049 kilograms (11,131 lb) and an expected service life of 15 years. It had a payload of 14 C-band, 12 Ku-band, and 2 Ka-band transponders. The satellite occupied an orbital slot of 78° West, designated for Uruguay and ceded to Venezuela by mutual accord. The satellite provided television broadcasting and broadband connectivity services.
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. 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, or that it may have exhausted its fuel supply. As of 23 March 2020[update], 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°.
On 24 March 2020, the Venezuelan government switched the majority of the functions of VeneSat-1 to the American Intelsat 14.[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.
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.