Chinese Broadcasting Satellite Placed in Orbit

AChinesecommunications satellite launched Saturday on a Long March rocket,beginning amission to broadcast civil television and radio signals across China.

Boltedontop of a 180-foot-tall LongMarch 3B rocket,the Chinasat 6A satellite lifted off from the Xichang space center insouthwestern China's Sichuan province at 1614 GMT (12:14 p.m. EDT)Saturday. [Photoof the Chinese rocket launch.]

Accordingtostate-run media, the three-stage launcher deployed Chinasat 6A in asuper-synchronous transfer orbit with a high point of more than 26,000miles, alow point of 122 miles and an inclination of 25 degrees.

Itwas the fourthspace launch in five weeks for China, which has now firedeight rocketsinto orbit since the beginning of the year.

Chinasat6Awill use its own propulsion system to circularize its orbit at analtitude of22,300 miles above the equator near Indonesia.

Thesatellite is designed to last 15 years delivering television and radioprogramming to customers across China, especially in remote andmountainousregions, according to the Xinhua news agency.

ChinaSatellite Communications Corp. will operate the satellite.

Xinhuareported the new spacecraft will back up Chinasat 5C, anothercommunicationssatellite that launched in 2007.

Chinasat6Awas built by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. and isbased on theDFH-4communications satellite bus.

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Stephen Clark is the Editor of Spaceflight Now, a web-based publication dedicated to covering rocket launches, human spaceflight and exploration. He joined the Spaceflight Now team in 2009 and previously wrote as a senior reporter with the Daily Texan. You can follow Stephen's latest project at and on Twitter.