Saturday, June 20, 2015

Chile Looking to China for Satellite Acquisition

Fasat Charlie
As Chile's only satellite nears the end of its operational life, the Air Force is looking to acquire a replacement. Plans are to have the new satellite in orbit in 2017. The current unit, called Fasat Charlie, was launched in December 2011. Although FACh operates the satellite, it has limited military use. Its powerful optics are used mainly for mapping, geological research, agricultural surveying and other civilian uses. It's come in handy in coordinating aid for the various natural disasters that hit Chile every year. The FACh officer in charge of Chile's space program said he will visit China to shop for a replacement. That's a curious declaration to make so early in the selection process, and one that suggests Chile has already found a supplier for its next orbiter. Or, it could be just a negotiating ploy. The first few Chilean satellites were built in Europe.

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