China Launches First High-Throughput Communication Satellite Shijian-13
China has launched its first high-throughput communication satellite, Shijian-13 (also called Chinasat 16), which cannot only give better internet access to planes and remote regions but also help during natural calamities.
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"The launch is a milestone for China's communication satellite technology," Tian Yulong, chief engineer of the State Administration of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense, said.
The satellite took off at 11:04 GMT on Wednesday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province, boarding a Long March-3B carrier rocket. It will release the Shijian 13 into an elliptical, egg-shaped orbit with a high point of about 22,300 miles above the Earth and a low point of a few hundred miles up.
The satellite would provide better internet service for planes as it has a transfer capacity of 20 Gbps. It would also allow passengers of high-speed trains to enjoy watching videos in high definition. Aside from these technological advantages, the satellite could help people on the ground report emergencies in case natural calamities strike.
With an orbital life of 15 years, the Shijian-13 is China's first satellite to be powered by electricity and could potentially improve by as much as 10 times compared with chemically powered propellants. The electric propulsion system is also lighter compared with traditional rocket thrusters.
State-run Xinhua described the satellite as China's first high-throughput, a class of telecom relay aircraft that could deliver more bandwidth and capacity to end users through frequency allocation and targeting high-demand regions with spot beams.
China plans to launch five more communications satellites within this year. The country is targeting to send 22 communication satellites into space by 2025.