satellite orbiting

Mongolia launches first satellite; China launches first cargo ship ahead of space station

Mongolia has launched its first satellite as part of its efforts to make use of new technology to diversify its resource-dependent economy.

The 1,227-megahertz satellite, called Mongol Sat-1, will help landlocked Mongolia expand its television, telecoms and broadband services, according to a video posted on the official website of Mongolia’s parliament.

The satellite was launched in partnership with Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS), a telecoms and broadcast provider for the region. No details about the cost of the satellite and the launch were provided, and government agencies could not be immediately reached for comment.

“The project that began over 10 years ago has been finally accomplished,” said Parliament Speaker Miyeegombo Enkhbold in a meeting with ABS Chief Executive Officer Thomas Choi at the satellite’s launch.

“This is a historic advance, and we are proud that Mongolia sends its first satellite off into space.”

Enkhbold said the satellite would also be used to help with space research, map making and with preparing for natural disasters.

Mongolia has been adopting new technologies to help connect its most remote and inaccessible regions, and dozens of new television broadcasters have also been launched in the last decade.

Mobile phones have also become an essential part of life for Mongolia’s traditional nomadic herders, providing remote settlements with access to banking and weather alerts.

The International Monetary Fund has urged Mongolia to diversify its economy as part of a $5.5 billion bailout.

Mongolia plunged into an economic and financial crisis last year after a collapse in commodity prices eroded growth and sent its currency, the tugrik, plummeting.

Meanwhile, China is set to launch its first cargo spacecraft tomorrow, state media said, taking another step towards its goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022.

President Xi Jinping has prioritised advancing China’s space programme to strengthen national security and defence.

The Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft will be launched at 7:41 p.m. (1141 GMT), borne aloft on a Long March-7 Y2 rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre in the southern island province of Hainan, the Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.

It is designed to dock with the Tiangong 2 space laboratory, or “Heavenly Palace 2”, where two astronauts spent a month in space last October in China’s longest ever manned space mission.

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