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Thai in the sky

BANGKOK - Thailand's first satellite will be launched Dec. 17 at Kourou, French Guiana.

The French company Arianespace is to launch the Thai satellite, Thaicom-1.

The $200 million satellite, built by the Hughes aircraft company, will carry 10 c-band

transponders, with two backups.

Most Thai satellite users currently rent transponders on one of Indonesia's Palapa

satellites.

Shinawatra holds an eight-year government monopoly on satellite services. The expected

life of the satellite is 15 years. -AP

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