The 100th Long March launch vehicle has placed the SinoSat-3 (Xinnuo-3) communications satellite into orbit.
The CZ-3A Chang Zheng-3A (CZ3A-14) rocket was launched at 00:08 Beijing time Friday (1608 UTC, Thursday) from the LC2 launch complex at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, located on the Sichuan province.
The Sinosat-3 satellite separated from the launcher last stage at 1632 UTC, 24 minutes after launch, according to the Xinhua news agency.
SinoSat-3 is a communications satellite based on the DFH-3 platform and was built by the Chinese Academy for Space Technology. The satellite has a operational life of 15 years and will operate from geosynchronous orbit at 125 degrees east.
The spacecraft is a three-axis stabilized vehicle, equipped with ten 36 MHz C-band transponders. SinoSat-3 will cover China and its neighbouring countries.
The Chang Zheng launch vehicle was developed and manufactured by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.
Following the loss of Sinosat-2 it became an imperative to launch a substitute to this satellite. However, according to Xinhua citing a SinoSat Corp. last November, ‘a substitute satellite for Sinosat-2 will take at least three years to develop, with more technical upgrades.’
The SinoSat-2 (29516 2006-048A) satellite launched on October 29th 2006. On November 8, 2006, SinoSat-2 suffered a failure when its solar panels failed to deploy – and the communications antenna became inoperable.
With 400 million television sets, China has 12.6 million digital TV subscribers, ‘suggesting a huge potential market for satellite TV.’
Sinosat-3 will be operated by Sinosat, a fixed satellite communications company, that offes satellite bandwidth and integrated solutions for video, Internet, data and voice communications services to a range of broadcasters, ISPs, network integrators, telecommunications companies, enterprises and government entities around the Asia-Pacific region.
This was the 101st successful orbital Chinese launch and the 100th launch of a Chang Zheng ‘Long March’ launch vehicle, being the third Chinese orbital launch in less than a month.
The Chinese schedule for 2007 includes the launch of the first Chinese Moon probe, the Chang’e-1 that is schedule for a September launch from Xichang. Also scheduled for launch in September is the CBERS-2B Sino-Brazilian satellite.