Bolivia's Chinese-made Tupac Katari satellite has generated 16 million U.S. dollars of income in a little more than a year in orbit, the Bolivian News Agency (ABI) said Tuesday.
"It's an approximate figure," director of the Bolivian Space Agency (ABE) Ivan Zambrana told reporters.
"Last year we were close to 10 million dollars and so far this year, we must be around 6 million dollars," said Zambrana.
Bolivia's first satellite, named after a historical figure, was launched on Dec. 20, 2013 from China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center, and began operating commercially in April 2014, following a series of tests.
The TK-SAT 1, said Zambrana, generates 1.5 million dollars a month, but that figure is expected to rise to 2 million a month by the end of the year, making it a profitable venture. Currently, 20 million doolars are earmarked a year to pay the project's debt.
The China Great Wall Industry Corporation built the satellite at an estimated cost of 300 million dollars, 85 percent of which was financed by the Development Bank of China and 15 percent by Bolivia.
Zambrana said the satellite's biggest contribution to date has been to the government's Telesalud, or Telehealth, program, which aims to bring specialized medical attention to the country's remote rural zones.