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State media: China launches 2nd satellite for Venezuela

From Nelson Quinones, CNN en Español
September 29, 2012 -- Updated 0923 GMT (1723 HKT)
A Venezuelan satellite is launched into space aboard a Chinese rocket in the province of Gansu on Saturday, September, 29, 2012.
A Venezuelan satellite is launched into space aboard a Chinese rocket in the province of Gansu on Saturday, September, 29, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The observation satellite launches from northwestern China
  • State media: It is Venezuela's second satellite in orbit
  • The first one, named after independence leader Simon Bolivar, was launched by China in 2008

(CNN) -- China launched a second satellite for the Venezuelan government Saturday, state media reported, days before President Hugo Chavez runs for re-election.

The observation satellite named Miranda launched from the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu.

It is Venezuela's second satellite in orbit, according to the Venezuela State News Agency, AVN.

The first one -- a telecommunications satellite -- was launched by China in 2008. It is named after Venezuelan independence hero, Simon Bolivar, the news agency said.

President Hugo Chavez, along with cabinet members and the Chinese ambassador to Venezuela, watched the latest launch from his palace in Caracas.

Hours before it launched, Chavez showed up at a plaza in the heart of the capital, surprising a crowd gathered to watch the satellite on giant public screens.

"We are watching history, the rebirth of history," the president said.

The Venezuelan leader said the satellite "is part of the scientific and technological development" of the nation. It will fly over Venezuela three times a day and take 350 high resolution images daily using four cameras, according to the news agency.

Venezuela will use it to monitor the country, urban planning, military operations, and to combat illegal mining and illegal crops, according to the news agency.

Miranda -- named after independence leader Francisco de Miranda -- was launched days before presidential elections set for October 7.

Campaigns between the president and his opponent, former governor Henrique Capriles, have heated up in the final stretch.

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