XICHANG, March 31 (Xinhua) -- China successfully sent a French-made communication satellite, "APSTAR-7," into orbit Saturday evening, using a Long March-3B carrier rocket launched from the southwestern Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
Monitoring data indicated that the satellite separated from the rocket and reached its designated orbit 26 minutes after its launch at 6:27 p.m. Beijing time.
Produced by Thales Alenia Space for Hong Kong-based APT Satellite Company Limited, the satellite will replace the APSTAR-2R, which is currently in orbit.
APSTAR-7 is a high-power broadcasting and communication satellite which is expected to last around 16 years before needing to be replaced.
It is able to provide TV transmission and satellite communication services to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Europe, as well as live TV broadcasting and trans-continental communication and broadcasting services to China, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.
Saturday's launch, which marked the 159th mission of the Long March carrier rocket series developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC), fulfilled a contract signed between China Great Wall Industry Corporation, a CASTC subsidiary, and the APT company.