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Long March 3B Sends Zhongxing 2D Satellite into Orbit on the First Space Launch of 2019

12 Jan 2019, 22:06 UTC
Long March 3B Sends Zhongxing 2D Satellite into Orbit on the First Space Launch of 2019
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China successfully carried out the first launch of the year Thursday with the lofting of the Zhongxing 2D communications satellite to geostationary transfer orbit. Liftoff of the enhanced Long March 3B launch vehicle occurred at 17:11 UTC January 10 (01:11 Beijing time, January 11) at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwestern China.People's Liberation Army Daily, a military newspaper, confirmed success of the launch 70 minutes later.Little is known about the payload, also known as ChinaSat 2D, which was described tersely by Xinhua as a Chinese-made communication and broadcasting satellite designed to, "provide transmission service for the country's radio, television stations and cable television networks."The satellite will use its own propulsion to maneuver into a circular orbit nearly 22,300 miles (35,800 kilometers) over the equator in the next few weeks, where its velocity will keep pace with the Earth’s rotation, giving it a fixed geographic coverage zone.Zhongxing 2D is likely based on the DFH-4 satellite design produced by the China Academy of Space Technology, another government-owned contractor in the Chinese space program. Thursday’s launch was not announced in advance, other than the release of warnings to pilots of an impending unspecified rocket launch, and no further details about the satellite’s ...

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