Petaling Jaya, Sun – Malaysia’s third satellite, Macsat, to be launched in 2004, will be the first to orbit the Earth along the Equator. Science, Technology and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Law Hieng Ding said the satellite would benefit equatorial countries, mainly developing countries. The satellite would pass over any given spot on the Equator more frequently than polar satellites, providing constant data streams. The wholly owned government company, Astronautic Technology (M) Sdn Bhd (ATSB) and a Korean company are developing the satellite. It is being built at the ATSB facility in Kuala Lumpur. Law said the satellite would be tested soon. The life-span for Macsat is three years. Malaysia started its space programme with the launch of the Malaysia East Asian Satellite (Measat) in 1996, followed by the home-made TiungSAT-1 micro-satellite in 2000. Asked if the life span of TiungSAT-1 micro satellite was coming to an end, Law said the satellite had not shown any indication of this. The three years end in September.