Sri Lanka’s (Delayed) Satellite Launch

I initially thought the video above was a bunch of Sri Lankans watching their money disappear into the air, like Mihin Space. However, it seems that it’s not a government launch, per se. It seems that it’s a private company called SupremeSAT which has Presidential son Rohitha Rajapakse as an engineer, fresh of his bachelor’s degree in Russia.

The project cost $20 million USD initially, rising to $320 million over successive launches, including building an earth station in Kandy. So one wonders where such princely sums come from. At least it’s not taxpayer money, I think. It seems like this money comes from somewhere and goes to a Chinese company to put the thing into space. That’s about the extent of engineering involved.

Like a lot else associated with the Rajapaksas, this seems to be driven by personal whim rather than need. Mahinda (pere) wanted an airline, so he got that, despite bleeding public money. The other sons wanted to race cars and play rugby, so those sports all got tax breaks and state support. Now the youngest son has said that he wants to be an astronaut, so people are scrambling and doing God knows what to put stuff in space.

One just wishes one of the Rajapaksa sons would develop an interest in, say, public transport, affordable food or jobs.

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2012-11-23 12:26:14

hmm…. you can say its a private entity and only god knows what Rajapaksha’s are into..
see, Sunday Leader was officially sold to one Rajapaksha goon, Asanga Senevi and all looks like a business deal..

but. its all underhand tactics to make Asanga Senevi as a mole and Rajapakshas are controlling the threads… what i hear is Asanga S. got a govt bank loan and some promises of goodies to offset this millions of Sunday Leader purchase.

Just imagine Asanga Senevi is just a old rugby coach of the 3 sons of the royal family at the school by the sea in the Mount, and within 7 years he has become a tycoon and so is guys like Dilith Jayaweera, Kudu Silva his brother.

If anyone in Sri Lanka is going to invest USD320Million is a big investment and all this is hanky panky and ultimately borne by the poor masses.

Ran Ran
2012-11-23 13:19:55

The Sunday Leader is doing much better without Frederica Jansz and her bigotry.

Lankan Thinker
2012-11-23 13:52:17

Actually the fact that this satellite initiative is being done by a private entity raises questions as to how the rights to use Sri Lanka’s geo-stationary orbit slot was awarded. As pointed out by Nalaka Gunawardene ( these slots are a limited resource and there is no evidence the GoSL has awarded the rights through an appropriate tender process.

2012-11-23 14:46:28

Who owns the company ?

A lot of ministries have now set up companies to carry out various activities so this could be one of them.

2012-11-23 15:03:07

Seems to be part of a group that is heavily involved in infrastructure

Satellites, oil.

They also have another related group that includes airports, defence, dredging, oil and gas, real estate.

Pretty big group but never heard of them before.

Who are they, what are they doing?

Lankan Thinker
2012-11-23 15:56:37

Yeah, they come across like Sri Lanka’s version of Haliburton .. I found that the CEO has a linked in profile (see but Google can’t find much about him or the Supreme group prior to the publicity around this satellite project. Curiouser and curiouser …

Tania P.
2012-11-25 19:55:46

Are we crazy in this little island? Have they not heard of renting or subscribing to an existing satellites for the services required? It’s not that we are interested in using it to spy on anyone is it? Why re-invent the wheel?

I just hope the authorities will allocate such monies in more pressing needs like jobs, education and public health systems.

I heard that Mr. Premadasa in his latter years got very superstitious and some fortuneteller pretty much was able to control his actions due to that. I just hope MR’s actions are also not dictated by some similar puppet master,…

2012-11-25 21:07:28

Did you buy a TV? Have you not heard of renting one?

Did you buy a house? Have you not heard of renting one?

Did you buy a car? have you not heard of hiring one?

2012-11-26 10:32:12

You buy things that make sense to buy and rent things that make sense to rent.

Rohan Samarajiva
2012-11-26 10:49:29

Sri Lanka has unused geostationary satellite orbital slots (locations). But they are not being used for this (or future Supreme Sat) satellites. If some use could be made of these slots, it is not a bad thing. But they are using Chinese orbital positions.

If a private entity wants to engage in investments that are questionable in the eyes of others, it is okay. It’s their money; they have a god-given right to throw it away. The only dangers are that (a) the government of Sri Lanka will, at some point, step to rescue a bad investment, using our money; and (b) GoSL will compel various local service providers to buy capacity from this satellite at above-market prices. As long as these two outcomes are avoided, there is no harm in the satellite. Actually, it may do some good, if it increases available capacity and brings down prices.

2012-11-26 12:39:46

I agree. And the probability of ‘danger’ materializing in a scale of 0 to 1?

Lankan Thinker
2012-11-26 18:41:36

Prof. Samarajeeva, thank you for clarifying the situation with respect to the geo-stationary orbital slots. The fact that they were using a Chinese orbital slot was unclear from previous news stories. I agree with your analysis of the situation.

2012-11-26 18:45:39

Richard Dennis, publishing tycoon, says of spending:

“If it flies, floats or fucks, always rent it.”

2012-11-27 18:45:52

China launches Sri Lanka’s first satellite

Sri Lanka launched its first communications satellite on Tuesday in partnership with a Chinese state-owned space technology firm, the Sri Lanka partner said, adding to unease in neighbouring India about Beijing’s growing ties with the island nation.

jc nars
2012-11-28 00:36:56

priceless !

Rohan Samarajiva
2012-11-28 15:54:32

No need to rely on Chellany spin. Here is the factual account of the “co-branded” satellite:

Chellany sees a Chinese under every bed.

2012-11-28 16:07:23

yeah it seams we simply leased it. And Xinhua does not say anything SL about it.

2012-11-29 10:53:39

Everything here is suspicious and fishy, Rohitha R was to stud\yAerospace Engineering in a UK uni, paid by the hard earning parents and in Southampton Uni and that is a 3 yr course.

in SL the first family and their stooges spread of him earned 3 degrees in Aerospace, Satellite communication and Rocket science as well as a Masters degree (which was done in 3 months) and someone who have studied for leass than 3 yrs and who have the knowhow to build a satellite and do the navigation etc., will have to be treated like a Whiz-kid like Einstein and with the dodgy resumes of all the Rajapaksha clan with library assistants become Attorneys and then 7-Eleven clerk in US become a defence sec and IT Administrator, Gas station attendent becoming Econonics Minister and a low level kid-MP become a Attorney and a housewife and a pre-school teacher become a child-psychologist, anything is possible with Rajapaksha’s.

Very soon, NASA will be taken to shame by these Rocket Scientists from the Banana Republic.

Namalie Rajapaksa
2012-12-03 21:41:11

One day, the Rajapaksas’ will rule the world and then we will achieve world peace and planet earth will become the wonder of the universe.

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