China launches SinoSat-3 satellite

Beijing, June 1:

China launched its SinoSat-3 communications satellite Friday to relay radio and television broadcasts.

The satellite was launched on a Long March-3A carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the southwestern province of Sichuan and successfully entered its preset orbit 24 minutes after the launch, the official Xinhua news agency said.

China’s 12.6 million digital television subscribers and 400 million television sets give it a huge potential market for satellite television broadcasts.

Broadcast satellite SinoSat-2 was launched last October but malfunctioned and will not be replaced for at least three years, said officials.

It was not clear if SinoSat-3 would replace part of the services of SinoSat-2, the agency said. The French made SinoSat-1 was launched in July 1998 to carry Chinese radio and television TV broadcasts for the Asia-Pacific Region.