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Chinese communications satellite delivered to orbit

Posted: June 20, 2011

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China launched a television broadcasting and broadband communications satellite Monday aboard a Long March rocket to replace an aging 12-year-old craft serving Asia.

The Chinasat 10 satellite blasted off at 1613 GMT (12:13 p.m. EDT) Monday from the Xichang launching base in southwestern China's Sichuan province. The liftoff occurred at 12:13 a.m. local time Tuesday, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

A 185-foot-tall Long March 3BE rocket hauled the spacecraft into an oval-shaped geosynchronous transfer orbit stretching from a low point of about 118 miles to a high point of 26,160 miles. The three-stage rocket achieved an orbital inclination of 26.3 degrees, according to U.S. military tracking data.

The rocket deployed Chinasat 10 as planned about 26 minutes after liftoff, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The Long March 3BE launch vehicle features four lengthened liquid-fueled strap-on boosters and an extended first stage compared to the Long March 3B, increasing the rocket's payload capacity to about 12,100 pounds for communications satellite launches.

Chinasat 10's on-board engine system will circularize the craft's orbit at an altitude of 22,300 miles over the equator, where the satellite will enter service at 110.5 degrees east longitude, according to China Satellite Communications Corp.

China Satcom will be the satellite's primary operator during its 15-year service life.

Chinasat 10 is based on the DFH-4 communications satellite bus built by the China Academy of Space Technology. It replaces the Chinasat 5B satellite launched in 1998.

China Satcom's website says Chinasat 10 will provide communications, broadcasting, data transmission, digital broadband multimedia system and media streaming services across China and neighboring countries.

Chinasat 10 carries a payload of C-band and Ku-band transponders.

Monday's launch was the second Chinese space mission of 2011. It was also the 26th space launch to successfully reach orbit this year from sites around the globe.