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China launches first direct broadcasting satellite: report
BEIJING, Oct 29 (AFP) Oct 28, 2006
China successfully launched its first direct broadcasting satellite into space Sunday aboard a Long March-3B carrier rocket, state media reported.

The SINOSAT-2 satellite was launched from the Xichang launch centre in southwestern China's Sichuan Province, the Xinhua news agency said.

The satellite is designed to serve television and broadband multimedia systems on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, the report added.

It was developed and manufactured mainly by the China Academy of Space Technology, Xinhua said, and is designed to have a 15-year lifespan.

The news agency had earlier reported that the launch of the satellite could lead to the repeal of a ban on satellite dish use by individuals.

The ban is widely ignored both in urban and rural areas.

Industry analysts predict that once individuals are allowed to install dishes, up to 100 million households will do so between 2006 and 2010, the earlier report said.

China currently has about 400 million television sets, a huge potential market for satellite TV, that report added.

On Tuesday China launched two satellites that will conduct space-related experiments, Xinhua had reported separately.

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