President Hugo Chavez has increasingly turned toward the East for help in technological development, and his latest endeavor — at a cost of some $406 million — will help him spread his revolutionary message across Latin America.
A rocket launched from China's western Sichuan province carried the 5.1-ton satellite into space and it is supposed to reach its final orbit 21,900 miles (36,500 kilometers) above the earth next week.
It will begin carrying radio, television and other data transmissions in early 2009 after three months of tests.
Chavez watched the launch by television with Bolivian President Evo Morales at an observation center just south of Venezuela's capital.
"This is a satellite for freedom," Chavez said in a nationally televised address following the launch.
An enormous hat tip to the wonderful Chiguire Bipolar for the image.