Long March Launches SinoSat-3

Let’s hope this one turn out better than Sinosat-2 did. Here’s the news report, via IHT:

China launched a new communications satellite into orbit early Friday [1 June 2007] to provide broader radio and television signal coverage across the country, state media reported.

The Long March-3A rocket lifted off from the Xichang launching center in southwestern China eight minutes after midnight (1608 GMT) and separated from the SinoSat-3 satellite 24 minutes later, the Xinhua News Agency said.

The long-scheduled launch follows the failed deployment last October of another communications satellite, SinoSat-2, whose solar panels and communications antennae did not operate properly, Xinhua said.

China has spent decades building an indigenous space program and is trying to attract customers from abroad, after a series of failed launches in the 1990s dampened demand for Chinese launch services.

Both the rocket and the satellite used Friday were mainly developed and manufactured domestically, Xinhua said.

The satellite deployed Friday was not developed as a replacement for the inoperable SinoSat-2, Xinhua said, though Sino Satellite Communications Co., the satellite’s operators, may use SinoSat-3 to replace part of the service the other satellite was to have provided.

Xinhua quoted a company spokesman as saying that a substitute satellite would take at least three years to develop.