Spaceflight Now Home

Mission Reports

For 12 years, Spaceflight Now has been providing unrivaled coverage of U.S. space launches. Comprehensive reports and voluminous amounts of video are available in our archives.
Space Shuttle
Atlas | Delta | Pegasus
Minotaur | Taurus | Falcon


Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest space news e-mailed direct to your desktop.

Enter your e-mail address:

Privacy note: your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose.


Space Books

Television broadcasting satellite launched by China

Posted: May 1, 2013

China launched a state-owned communications satellite into orbit Wednesday to beam television and data to commercial customers across Asia, Africa and Australia for the next 15 years.

The Chinasat 11 satellite, owned by China Satellite Communications Corp., will link millions of customers in China and neighboring regions with direct-to-home television, digital broadband and streaming media services.

The spacecraft is the heaviest and most powerful commercial communications ever built in China, according to its manufacturer, the China Academy of Space Technology.

Chinasat 11 lifted off aboard a Long March 3B rocket at 1606 GMT (12:06 p.m. EDT) from the Xichang launching center in Sichuan province in southwest China. Liftoff was at 12:06 a.m. Beijing time, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The Long March 3B launcher, sporting an enlarged first stage and liquid-fueled strap-on boosters, rocketed into the night from the mountainous space base, flying east over mainland China before deploying Chinasat 11 into orbit about a half-hour later.

The rocket deposited Chinasat 11 in an elliptical parking, and the spacecraft's own thrusters will circularize its altitude 22,300 miles over the equator in the next few weeks.

After tests to ensure the craft's communications systems function as intended, controllers will add Chinasat 11 to China Satcom's satellite network for a 15-year mission.

Based on the DFH-4 platform developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, the country's government-owned satellite manufacturer, Chinasat 11 carries a suite of Ku-band and C-band transponders to broadcast programming across a footprint containing more than half of Earth's population.

Wednesday's mission marked China's second space launch of the year, and the 20th space launch worldwide to reach orbit in 2013.