China has launched a new communications satellite to provide real-time communications between orbiting satellites and ground control stations. Tianlian 2-01 was launched at 15:50 UTC Saturday from the LC2 Launch Complex of the Xichang Satellite Launch Center using a Long March-3B/G2 (Chang Zheng-3B/G2) launch vehicle.
The Chinese tracking and data relay satellites were developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and it is similar to the American Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) in concept. The system is designed to support near-real-time communications between orbiting spacecraft and the ground control, and will complement the ground-based space tracking and telemetry stations and ships to support future space projects.
This launch was already expected in 2018, but was pushed back to 2019. The Tianlian-2 satellite series represents the second generation of this series of satellites. Developed by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST), the satellite is based on the DFH-4 satellite platform.
DFH-4 is the third generation communications satellite bus in China with high power, strong payload capacity and extended service life. It consists of a propulsion module, service modules and solar arrays.
Its dimensions are 2360mm×2100mm×3600mm, with a liftoff mass of 5,200 kg. Solar Array Power is ...