Eutelsat Signs A Chinese Launch Deal

For the first time in more than a decade, China's rocket industry has scored a new contract for the launch of a western commercial satellite , this time for France's Eutelsat Communications.

It comes as President Barack Obama's administration is re-examining U.S.-Chinese relations across the board, and U.S. lawmakers are gearing up for another debate about possibly loosening American export-control restrictions affecting space hardware. The new contract is especially controversial because the company is a major supplier of commercial satellite capacity to the Pentagon and other U.S. agencies in the Mideast.

A Eutelsat spokeswoman declined to comment

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) issued the following remarks during today's Science and Technology Full Committee hearing on the "Impacts of U.S. Export Control Policies on Science and Technology Activities and Competitiveness." Rep. Rohrabacher specifically addressed his concerns regarding the recent announcement of an agreement between European satellite operator Eutelstat and the Peoples Republic of China to use Chinese rockets to launch private communications satellites. Since 1998, U.S. export controls have prohibited the use of Chinese rockets to launch satellites containing American made parts.