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October 30, 2006

China launches SinoSat-2 satellite


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China successfully launched a homemade high-power communications and broadcast satellite into space aboard a Long March-3B carrier rocket at 0:20 on Sunday.

The new-generation SinoSat-2 satellite, launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, is designed to serve broadcast TV, digital TV, live broadcast TV and digital broadband multimedia systems on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Satellite separation from the rocket occurred approximately 25 minutes after lift-off. The satellite then successfully entered the geosynchronous transfer orbit. Its orbit will be adjusted several times by commanders on the ground until it is positioned above the equator at 92.2 East Longitude.

SinoSat-2, developed and manufactured mainly by the China Academy of Space Technology, weighs about 5.1 tones and has 22 transponders. It has a designed life of 15 years, including 12 years of in-orbit service life.

The carrier rocket used in the launch was developed and manufactured by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. The launch marked the 93rd flight of Long March series of carrier rockets and China’s 51st consecutive successful space launch since October 1996.

Earlier this month, Sun Laiyan, chief of the China National Space Administration, said that the satellite would enable every farming household to receive TV signals using a small dish, thereby bringing educational programs and even remote medical services to farmers.

Industrial sources said the launch was a milestone for the communication sector and would most probably speed up the reform of China’s satellite TV service by prompting the abolishment of a 13-year-old regulation banning individuals from setting up dish antennas.

Industry analysts predict that once individuals are allowed to install satellite dishes, up to 100 million households will do so between 2006 and 2010.

China currently has about 400 million television sets, a huge potential market for satellite TV.

China has already launched about 50 satellites aboard Long March rockets, which also carried the country’s first manned space flight in 2003.

Its ambitious space programme includes plans for an orbital moon probe next year and a permanent space laboratory by 2020.

The 2003 manned mission made China only the third country to launch an astronaut into space after Russia and the United States.

Story link: China launches SinoSat-2 satellite


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