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China launches Shijian 13 communications satellite

By Zhao Lei | | Updated: 2017-04-12 21:40

China launched its most advanced communications satellite at 7:04

Shijian 13, developed by the China Academy of Space Technology and based on its DFH-3B communications satellite platform, was launched atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province.

The satellite, which weighs 4.6 metric tons, is expected to stay in a geostationary orbit at about 36,000 kilometers above the Earth for 15 years, the academy said.

It features a Ka-band broadband communications system capable of transmitting 20 gigabytes of data per second, making it the most powerful communications satellite China has ever developed.

Zhao Jian, a space program official at the administration, said that the transmission capacity of Shijian 13 exceeds the total capacity of all the country's previous communications satellites.

Zhou Zhicheng, head of the China Academy of Space Technology's Telecommunication Satellite Institute, said Shijian 13 would use electric propulsion after it enters orbit, reducing the amount of chemical fuel it needs to carry.

At present, most satellites rely on chemical propulsion, which requires a relatively large amount of fuel that occupies space that could otherwise be used for scientific instruments.

Zhou said the new satellite is able to cover most parts of China's land territory and will help to enable passengers on jetliners and high-speed trains to use the internet.


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