A France-made W3C communications satellite, carried by China's Long March-3B rocket carrier, blasts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwest China's Sichuan Province, Oct. 7, 2011. The European Eutelsat-W3C satellite will provide new capacity for broadcasting, telecommunications and broadband services. (Xinhua/Yue Yuewei)
XICHANG, Sichuan, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- China's Long March-III2 rocket carrier sent a French-made telecom satellite into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center Friday afternoon, marking the first time for China to provide launch service for a European satellite operator.
It was also the 148th launch for the Long March rocket family.
According to information and data received by the Xi'an Satellite Measuring and Monitoring Center, the satellite and rocket carrier separated on schedule and the satellite is now in orbit.
The launch marked the first time for China to cooperate with a European satellite operator since the signing of a Sino-French satellite launch agreement in 2008.
The launch was carried out by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation and the China Institute of Rocket Carrier Technology, both under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, as well as the China Satellite Launch and Tracking Control General (CLTC).
The W3C telecom satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space, a French satellite manufacturer, and is owned by Eutelsat, a leading provider of satellite communication services.
The W3C has a designed lifespan of 15 years and will provide television, radio, broadband, video and Internet service.