China to replace satellite made for Nigeria for free

China has promised to replace a Nigerian telecommunications satellite free of charge after the last one, made and launched in China, failed after about 18 months in orbit, the China Daily said on Wednesday.
The US$340 million Nigerian Communication Satellite, or NIGCOMSAT-1, was launched to great fanfare in 2007, with Nigeria hoping it would offer advanced telecoms, broadcasting and broadband multimedia services for 15 years. Its solar-powered battery failed in November 2008.
Reuters reports the replacement NIGCOMSAT-1R will be launched from Sichuan province in southwestern China in the fourth quarter of 2011, Yin Liming, president of China Great Wall Industry Corp, said at a signing ceremony on Tuesday.
The satellite was supposed to make Africa’s most populous nation a technological hub, saving broadband users and phone users hundreds of millions of dollars a year and enabling Internet access to remote rural villages.
China is marketing its engineering and launch services to developing countries, as well as to telecommunications firms in the developed world, as a less expensive alternative.
It is also developing its own space capabilities, and plans to land a vehicle on the moon in 2012.