Beijing: China has successfully launched a communicant satellite for Nigeria and is bracing up to set in orbit five commercial satellite next year for Venezuela, Bolivia, Belarus and Turkmenistan.

China launched a communications satellite for Nigeria on Tuesday to replace a defunct satellite that was developed by China's space industry but failed in orbit in 2008, official media here reported.

Nigerian Communication Satellite-1R was put into orbit by a Long March 3B launch vehicle from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.

It is the fourth communications satellite delivered in orbit by China's space industry for international customers.

This included the satellite launched for Pakistan this year.

On Tuesday's satellite will replace Nigerian Communication Satellite-1, which failed in orbit due to the malfunction of a solar array deployment assembly in November 2008, some 18 months after it was launched.

The satellite had been designed to work for at least 15 years, media reported on Wednesday.

So far, China has conducted 33 commercial launches for international customers, putting 39 satellites into orbit, it said.

Also China is set to make five commercial launches for foreign customers next year, to realising the goal of re-launching itself in the global aerospace industry, a senior industry official said.

The five launches are a piggy-back launch of two Luxembourg micro-satellites for sea monitoring in January, launches of two communications satellites for Hong Kong-based APT Satellite Co Ltd, and launches of two remote sensing satellites, Yin Liming, president of China Great Wall Industry Corporation, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and
Technology Corporation told.

As there are usually 20 to 30 commercial launches in the world each year, most carried out by Russia and European countries, the five launches next year mean that China can take at least a 15-percent share of this market next year, Yin said on the eve of the third and last commercial launch in 2011 of the China-developed communications satellite for Nigeria.

The other two launches in 2011 were the launch of a China-developed communications satellite for Pakistan in August, and the launch of a communications satellite built by France-based Thales Alenia Space for Eutelsat Communication, a leading European satellite operator, in October.

"With this momentum, we are confident of achieving the goal we set for the 2011-2015 period, which is to take a 15-percent share of the commercial launch market and a 10-percent share of the satellite export market by 2015," he said.

 Next year also features the first export of a remote sensing satellite. China-made remote sensing satellite will be launched for Venezuela, according to a contract signed this year.

In addition, the China Great Wall Industry Corporation, also inked contracts in the past 12 months on in-orbit delivery of a Bolivia communications satellite and a Belarus communications satellite, launch service for a Turkmenistan communications satellite and the piggy-back launch of the Luxembourg micro-satellites.

Through its contract with Belarus, China also achieved a breakthrough in serving European countries with a communications satellite for the first time, he added.

(Agencies)