China launches Zhongxing 19 communications satellite

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China has a new, powerful communications satellite heading to geostationary orbit after a successful launch over the weekend.

A Long March 3B rocket blasted off at 7:50 a.m. EDT (1150 GMT, 7:50 p.m. Beijing time) on Saturday (Nov. 5) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China. 

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced (opens in new tab) the success of the launch into geostationary transfer orbit within the hour. 

Related: The latest news about China’s space program

The Zhongxing 19 (ChinaSat 19) satellite will orbit at a fixed spot over the Asia-Pacific region, 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) above the equator. From there it will mainly provide communications services for important travel routes across the Pacific, the eastern Pacific Ocean and the west coast of North America, according to CASC.

The satellite carries a Ka-band high-throughout communications payload designed for broadband internet services, and also hosts Ku-band and C-band transponders, Spaceflight Now notes (opens in new tab).

The satellite is based on a DFH-4 satellite platform. It was manufactured by the China Academy of Space Technology and will be operated by China Satcom, both subsidiaries of CASC. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, another institute owned by CASC, provided the launch vehicle for the mission.

Zhongxing 19 was China’s 49th launch of 2022. The nation looks set to beat its record of 55 launches, which was set last year. 

China is currently preparing to launch a new cargo mission to its recently completed Tiangong space station later this week.

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