Jam-proof satellite going up next year
China's first anti-jamming satellite -- capable of carrying radio and TV signals to the whole of China -- is scheduled to be sent skyward next year in the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Southwest China's Sichuan Province.
Officials with the Chinese Academy of Space Technology, which developed the satellite, said the SINOSAT-II, was designed "in full consideration of resisting possible interference'' from outside sources.
However, the officials, declining to be identified, said "we cannot tell you right now how effective the satellite will be to resist such interference. Everything will be clear after the satellite is launched.''
The possible interference refers mainly to the attacks by Falun Gong cult devotees on television signals transmitted by the Sino Satellite (SINOSAT) system which covers the whole of China.
One of the latest attacks occurred in October, when Falun Gong cult followers prevented Chinese viewers from watching broadcasts of China's first manned space mission by blocking SINOSAT.
The signals sent by cult activists interfered with the broadcast of the Shenzhou V flight and other regular programmes of China Central Television and some local TV stations.
The illegal signals originated in Taiwan, according to the Ministry of Information Industry.
The SINOSAT-II, designed and developed solely by China, is of large capacity and has a 15-year mission life, the China News Service quoted Zhou Zhicheng, chief designer of the satellite, as saying.
In the days to come, an experimental satellite will be sent by air to Xichang for a one-month rehearsal.
The rehearsal should test how well the SINOSAT-II and the launching system work so that next year's launch will be a success, the sources said, adding that the real SINOSAT-II is currently being manufactured.
If successful, SINOSAT-II will become China's stepping stone to the international large-capacity communication satellite market, sources said.
Currently, there is no China-made large-capacity communication satellite selling in the international market and China itself is renting other country's satellites.
With a record number of satellite launches planned for this year, China's space programme is entering a pivotal period.
The country is looking to place 10 satellites into orbit in 2004, more than any other year in history, according to Zhang Qingwei, a top aerospace official.
Last year the nation not only blasted half a dozen satellites into orbit but joined the very small club of nations who have put humans into space. Other than China, only the former Soviet Union and the Unites States have accomplished the feat.