China on 22 November 2016 successfully launched the Tianlian I-04 satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province of Southwest China.
This data satellite was launched on a Long March-3C carrier rocket. The launch of the Tianlian I-04 marks the 241st mission of China's Long March series of rockets.
Highlights of the Tianlian I-04 satellite
• It was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
• It will join its three predecessors to achieve global network operation.
• It is based on the DFH-3 (Dongfanghong-3) platform, a medium-capacity telecommunications satellite platform designed and developed by CAST.
• The network will provide data relay, measurement and control services for China's manned spacecraft, space labs and space stations.
• It will also offer data relay services for the country's medium- and low-Earth orbiting resources satellites.
• It will provide measurement and control support for spacecraft launches.
About Tianlian I Satellites
• China launched its first data relay satellite- Tianlian I-01 in April 2008. Currently, Tianlian-1 (1) is positioned at 77°E.
• The second satellite Tianlian I-02 was launched in July 2011 and is currently positioned at 176.77°E.
• With the launch of Tianlian I- 03 in July 2012, China managed full global coverage for its tracking and data relay system.
• These Tianlian I satellites provide close to real-time communications between the ground and spacecraft. They are particularly used for Shenzhou human spaceflight missions.
China's first experimental communications satellite was launched in the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in 1984. Since then, the centre has sent more than 100 spacecraft into space in recent decades, including over 20 BeiDou navigation satellites and the country's first lunar probe Chang'e-1.