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China Launches Tianlian I-04 Satellite, Bolsters Data Relay Network

By | November 23, 2016
      The Tianlian I-04 satellite launching from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Xichang, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Nov. 22, 2016. Photo: Xinhua/Du Cai

      The Tianlian I-04 satellite launching from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Xichang, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, Nov. 22, 2016. Photo: Xinhua/Du Cai

      [Via Satellite 11-23-2016] China successfully launched its Tianlian I-04 satellite on Nov. 22, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, according to the country’s state-run news organization Xinhua. The satellite launched on a Long March-3C carrier rocket at 11:24 p.m. Beijing time, sources with the Xichang Satellite Launch Center told Xinhua.

      Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., the satellite is the fourth in a constellation that aims to achieve global network operation. The Xichang Satellite Launch Center expects the network to provide data relay, measurement and control services for China’s manned spacecraft, space labs and space stations. The network will also offer data relay services for the country’s medium- and low-Earth orbiting resources satellites, as well as measurement and control support for spacecraft launches.

      China launched its first data relay satellite, the Tianlian I-01, in April 2008. The country launched the second satellite in July 2011, and the third in July 2012.

      According to Xinhua, the Xichang Satellite Launch Center expects to launch 10 or more satellites in 2017.