CARACAS, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- President Hugo Chavez said on Friday that a new Chinese-built satellite for Venezuela will be launched this year.
Chavez made the announcement at a farewell party in Miraflores Palace, the presidential residence, for a group of 50 telecommunications engineers before they travelled to China for training.
The group of civil and military engineers from the Bolivarian Agency for Space Activities will be trained in China for six months to operate the new satellite.
"The new satellite will be called 'Miranda.' The Venezuelan people have to know about the technological, scientific, productive, political and social development of our country," Chavez said.
The satellite will help monitor natural phenomena such as earthquakes, flooding and intense rains as well as desertification, the loss of arable land and illegal mining.
The Miranda satellite is expected to be sent into orbit at 639 km from China between September and October, almost four years after the launch of Venezuela's first satellite "Simon Bolivar."
On Oct. 29, 2008, China launched the jointly built telecommunication satellite Venesat-1, also dubbed "Simon Bolivar," making Venezuela the fourth Latin American country that owns a satellite after Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.