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On they march as China records 401st flight of Long March rocket family
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) Dec 15, 2021

A Long March-3B rocket carrying the Tianlian II-02 satellite blasts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China's Sichuan province, on Dec 14, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

China launched a relay satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China early on Tuesday morning, according to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the nation's major space contractor.

A Long March 3B carrier rocket blasted off at 0:09 am and then deployed the Tianlian II-02 satellite into orbit, the State-owned company said in a statement. The mission marked the 401st flight of the Long March rocket family.

Developed by the company's China Academy of Space Technology, the satellite is tasked with tracking, control and data relay services to manned spacecraft, satellites and carrier rockets, according to the statement.

Its predecessor - the Tianlian II-01 - was the first in China's second generation of data relay satellites and was launched at the Xichang center in March 2019.

The Tianlian II satellites are expected to improve the country's space-based data relay capability, designers said.

China's first-generation data relay satellite network, the Tianlian I system, now has five satellites. The first was launched from Xichang in April 2008. They have served several important space functions such as rendezvous and dockings between the Tiangong I space lab and Shenzhou spaceships.

The Tianlian I system has also extensively boosted communications between Chinese spacecraft and ground control.

Compared with the first-generation model, satellites in the Tianlian II series feature stronger capabilities, heavier carrying capacity and longer life spans, designers said.

"Because of its newly developed antennas, the data transmission speed of the new-generation type is twice that of the first generation," said Zhao Hong, chief designer of the Tianlian II-01.

Tianlian II satellites can serve more spacecraft and have a larger operational range, he added.

China has carried out nearly 50 launch missions this year to place satellites and space station components in space.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Related Links
China Aerospace Science and Technology
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com

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China's Long March carrier rocket embarks on 400th mission
Beijing (XNA) Dec 10, 2021
A Long March-4B rocket on Friday morning successfully sent a new group of satellites into space, marking the 400th launch mission of the China-developed Long March carrier rocket series. Since the first launch in 1970, the Long March carrier rocket series has carried out 92.1 percent of China's space launch mission, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), developer of the rocket series and also the leading force of the country's space industry. Over the pa ... read more

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