XICHANG, China, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- China sent the first Bolivian communications satellite into orbit early Saturday morning from the Xichang launch center, officials said.
The satellite is expected to last for 15 years, Xinhua reported, and is named Tupac Katari in honor of an 18th century hero who fought Bolivia's Spanish colonizers.
Bolivian President Evo Morales was present Saturday morning, marking the first time a foreign leader attended a satellite launch.
Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Morales on the successful launch.
"The satellite will play an important role for Bolivia to improve its broadcasting, education and medical services. It will make important contributions to promote cooperation between China and Latin American countries," Xi said.
Xi said he hopes to work with Bolivia on more space projects to promote cooperation and friendly relations.