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Remote areas to get TV coverage
By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-10 05:51

The planned launch of two direct broadcasting satellites in China within two years is expected to beam TV programmes to the country's most remote areas, executives said yesterday in Beijing.

The country's first generation of direct broadcasting satellite system will take shape by 2007, when French-made ChinaSat 9 will join Chinese-developed SinoSat 2 satellite, which will be launched next year, they said.

China Great Wall Industry Corp and China Satellite Communication Corp (ChinaSat) signed a contract in Beijing yesterday to place ChinaSat 9 into orbit in the second half of 2007.

"ChinaSat 9 is a powerful direct broadcasting satellite capable of covering almost all Chinese areas, making it possible for at least 98 per cent of the residents to receive satellite TV programmes using smaller-sized receiving dishes," said Lu Lijin, a senior engineer with the ChinaSat.

ChinaSat 9 is expected to work alongside with the SinoSat 2, which is being developed by the China Academy of Space Technology based on Dongfanghong IV China's latest communications satellite platform, according to Lu.

SinoSat 2 is slated to be launched in mid-2006, according to Fan Xingmin, an executive with the satellite owner, Beijing-based Sino Satellite Communications Co.

Both SinoSat 2 and ChinaSat 9 will be on the same orbit, according to Lu.

The two satellites will then form China's first generation of direct broadcasting satellite system.

In this way, 100 per cent reliability of broadcasting services for customers will be guaranteed without any glitches during their years-long operation, Lu said.

Operation of the two satellites is projected to solve the difficulty people in remote and rural areas have in receiving TV signals, he said.

They will be able to dispense with TV relay stations and directly receive broadcasting services using receiving dishes with a diameter ranging from 0.45 metres to 0.6 metres, he said.

Even charging a minimum of 1 yuan (US$12 cents) per channel for one family, direct satellite TV broadcasting is expected to generate a revenue of at least 15 billion yuan (US$1.8 billion) each year between 2008 and 2017, according to Lu.

In addition, both satellites will benefit viewers during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, he added.

Currently, China has rented 37 transponders at 12 foreign-made satellites for broadcasting services, according to Lu.

With a life of 15 years and fitted with 22 Ku-band transponders, ChinaSat 9 can transmit 200 high-definition TV channels, he said.

Weighing about 4.5 tons at liftoff, the satellite is based on the Spacebus 4000 C1 platform and will be positioned at 92.2 degrees east, its manufacturer Alcatel Space said in a statement.

It will blast off from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, atop a Long March 3B rocket, which is capable of catapulting 5.1 tons of payload into a geo-stationary transfer orbit.

Since October 1996, the Long March rocket series have conducted 46 successful launches in a row, according to Great Wall Industry Corp.

(China Daily 11/10/2005 page2)

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