Chinese television satellite boosted into Earth orbit
BY STEPHEN CLARK
Posted: July 5, 2007
China's most powerful rocket streaked into space Thursday with a communications satellite designed to broadcast television channels across Asia and the Pacific Ocean.
The Chinasat 6B satellite launched aboard a Long March 3B rocket at 1208 GMT (8:08 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Xichang space center in southwestern China. State media later reported the three-stage booster successfully reached orbit and deployed the 10,000-pound spacecraft.
The flight was the seventh Chinese space launch so far this year.
Chinasat 6B will guide itself into a geostationary orbit in the next few weeks, eventually reaching an altitude of 22,300 miles. The craft's speed will match Earth's rotation, and it will hover over a spot along the Equator near Indonesia.
The craft's 38 C-band transponders will cover China and other parts of Asia for up to 15 years.
The state-owned China Satellite Communications Corp. will operate Chinasat 6B. The craft was built in France by Thales Alenia Space.
Chinasat 6B will beam television programming across China, including the country's most remote regions, according to the Xinhua news agency.
The satellite will broadcast up to 300 television channels to customers, according to a Thales statement.
China is expected to launch Chinasat 9 this fall. The direct-to-home broadcasting satellite will be capable of broadcasting high-definition television signals to customers with a small receiving dish.