TS News - The East Is Red Again
TELE-satellit News, 14 May 1997
The East Is Red Again
BEIJING, China, 97/05/14 (SatND) -- China today successfully launched the
Dongfanghong 3 (DFH, "The East is Red") communications satellite from its
Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in south-west China's Sichuan Province.
News agency Xinhua reported that it was the 44th launch using a Long March
rocket (in this case Long March 3a.) Rumour has it that the (unannounced)
launch was originally planned for May 5 but then postponed.
DFH 3 was operating normally and "successfully changed its orbit after
the first ignition of its apogee engines at 16:11 (Beijing time) today."
The satellite has also unfolded its solar paddles and communications
antenna. DFH 3 is a newly developed communications satellite with 24 C-band
transponders. Its life span in geostationary orbit is about eight years --
almost just half the modern satellites keep operating. This is probably (at
least partly) owing to the reduced station-keeping capabilities of
indigenous Chinese satellites which, as a consequence, consume more fuel
because their position has to be corrected more frequently.
Xinhua has learned that the satellite will be finally positioned at 125
deg. East. The Long March will be put on test once again in June when
China's first indigenous weather satellite FENGYUN 2 will be launched.
"After that we will launch satellites for foreign companies," a spokeswoman
for China Aerospace Corp said. Meanwhile, insurance companies took a breath
of relief. "This is a major step forward for China Great Wall," said John
Salaverry, president of space insurance brokers ISB Asia/Pacific, based in
Singapore. Following the past few launch failures, insurance rates for Long
March launches had risen from 16 to 20 percent.
By: Peter Klanowski
(c)TELE-satellit 1997. All rights reserved.
[Other mailing list archives]