China has launched its first high-throughput satellite
China has launched its first high-throughput satellite

China has launched its first high-throughput satellite

On February 23, China launched ChinaSat 26, a communications satellite with more than 100 Gbps capacity, into geostationary orbit.

China's sixth launch of the year

The launch of China's ChinaSat 26 (Zhongxing 26 or ZX 26) communications satellite to a geostationary transfer orbit was carried out by a Long March 3B ignited on 23 February at 11:49 a.m. from the Xichang Space Center (XLSC), based in southwest China's Sichuan province and dedicated to China's most powerful launch vehicles.

The Feb. 23 launch marked the 465th mission of a Long March rocket since 1970 and sixth Chinese orbital launch of the year.

A 39 day break had previously been marked in China due to the Chinese New Year holidays.


A capacity record for China

Chinasat 26 is China's first HTS satellite (high-throughput satellite).

It was built by the Cast (China Academy of Space Technology), based on the DFH-4E platform, which has been in service since 2020.

The satellite is equipped with 94 channels in Ka band, and offers an overall capacity of more than 100 Gbits per second.

This is 3.5 times more than Chinasat 16 and its 26 Ka-band beams, based on the DF-4S platform, which was launched in April 2017 and boasted a capacity of 20 Gbps.

The satellite's development cost is estimated at 2.3 billion yuan ($333 million).


Broadband connectivity

From the 125° East position, Chinasat 26 is mainly to provide for 15 years " high-speed broadband access services for fixed terminals, as well as vehicle, onboard and airborne terminals ".

This means the satellite will provide connectivity to aircraft passengers, such as those offered by Viasat aboard Sichuan Airlines' Airbus A320s.

Its coverage area extends from Cape Horn (the southernmost point of South America) to the Kamchatka Peninsula (in the Russian Far East), to northern Queensland (in northeastern Australia).

Chinasat 26 is operated by China Satcom.

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