It has been ten years today (27) since Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s youngest son, Rohitha Rajapaksa, or Chichi, is said to have launched a communication satellite into space.
“Sri Lanka’s first communication satellite, SUPREMESAT-1, was launched some time ago from China’s XI-CHANG space station,” Chichi’s elder brother Namal Rajapaksa, then a Member of Parliament, said on November 27, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. At 5.29 p.m., he posted on Facebook.
On October 25, 2011, a company called SuperSAT (Pvt) Ltd was even formed for this SUPREMESAT-1, which is said to have been launched into space. The company was known as Sri Lanka’s first and only satellite operator. It was reported at the time that it has a partnership with the satellite manufacturing company China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC).
SuperSAT (Pvt) Ltd announced the first launch of SUPREMESAT-1, Sri Lanka’s first satellite, on November 12, 2012. Chichi’s satellite was said to have been launched from Xi-Chang, China, 15 days later. It was announced at the time that SuperSAT (Pvt) Ltd had become the world’s 27th private company to own a communication satellite. It was stated at the time that the satellite’s life span is fifteen years, and that it will provide services to countries in South and Central Asia, East Africa, and the Far East.
At that time, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s strongmen had said in the news conferences that they planned to invest more than 320 million US dollars in the company in question.
SuperSAT (Pvt) Ltd reported that it has laid the foundation stone for the country’s first ‘Space Academy’ as a Board of Investment (BOI) project. It was said that it was in Pallekele, Kandy with an investment of 20 million US dollars. Meanwhile, it was said that a satellite ground station will be constructed in Koggala area to train Sri Lankans in space and satellite technology and to monitor satellite operations.
At that time, one of the senior ministers in Sri Lanka was Professor Tissa Vitarana, Member of Parliament for Pohottuwa, who now says that he has left the government and is working independently. Appreciating Chichi’s satellite which is said to have been sent into space, he had made comments justifying the amount spent on it.
On November 21, 2012, calling a press conference at the Minister’s office, Professor Tissa Vitarana said that Chichi’s satellite will start communication activities from 2013.
“This satellite is going to start the related communication activities from the first week of January 2013. This is an important milestone in Sri Lanka’s communication history.
This task becomes a basis for providing the necessary technology for President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s plan to make Sri Lanka a center of knowledge. The necessary knowledge and support for this Arthur C. Provided by the Clark Center.
“With the positioning of the new communication satellite, electronic communication needs in Sri Lanka, as well as environmental protection, disaster management, identification of mineral resources and their quality measurement, mining, and identification of natural hazards, will become more efficient,” Minister Tissa Vitarana had said.