Updated 12:35 PM EDT, Sun, Sep 22, 2019

Nicaragua to Launch Two Telecommunication Satellites in Orbit by 2017

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Nicaragua is planning to put two telecommunication satellites in orbit by 2017.

The news about the Nicasat project was announced by Telemaco Talavera, an adviser to the Nicaraguan government and president of the National Council of Universities, Fox News Latino reported.

In 2013, Nicaragua's government said that the Nicasat-1 satellite will be build with $346 million in financing from Chinese banks, specifically by satellite manufacturer China Great Wall Industries Corporation (GCWIC), which is a unit of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The latter is regarded as the Asian country's top space industry contractor, Fox News Latino noted.

According to the news outlet, Talavera did not give further information about the second satellite's construction and launch timeframe. However, he said that both structures are currently under construction and that the technicians who will operate the satellites are undergoing training at present.

Talavera didn't disclose the reason behind the one-year delay of the first satellite's launch, which was primarily planned to have been initiated into orbit in the third quarter of 2016, Fox News Latino added.

Nicaragua is expecting that the satellites will "not only improve telecommunications, but also access to data that will enable improvement in educational aspects and (the areas of) science, technology, the environment, illness, crops, diagnoses and climate change," Fox News Latino further reported. The satellites are set to provide cellular telephony, television, and data services, as well as coverage to other Central American countries.

At present, no Central American nation has its own satellite in orbit, the news outlet noted.

Nicaragua Approves Environmental Impact Study on Canal Project

Earlier this month, the Nicaraguan government's canal commission approved an environmental impact study that advances a Chinese corporation's inter-ocean project worth $50 billion, Yahoo! News reported from the Associated Press.

According to the news outlet, the proposed 172-mile (278-kilometer) route for the canal was already approved by officials, the news outlet. Groundbreaking on access roads for the canal took place in December, but digging of the waterway has not kicked off yet.

Canal commission representative Manuel Coronel Kautz said the commission's recent decision permits China's HKND Company to begin structural and construction design work, Yahoo! News added. However, some experts are uncertain that the canal will be built due to financial, environmental, and social concerns.

Environmental activists, Nicaraguans, and President Daniel Ortega's political opponents have criticized the project. Environmentalist Jaime Incer Barquero said the lack of transparency and the government's refusal to submit the project to independent and outside review raises suspicions. Incer Barquero added that "there will always be doubts about its validity," Yahoo! News noted.

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