China has a new, powerful communications satellite heading to geostationary orbit after a successful launch over the weekend.
A Long March 3B rocket blasted off at 7:50 a.m. EDT (1150 GMT, 7:50 p.m. Beijing time) on Saturday (Nov. 5) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced the success of the launch into geostationary transfer orbit within the hour.
The Zhongxing 19 (ChinaSat 19) satellite will orbit at a fixed spot over the Asia-Pacific region, 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) above the equator. From there it will mainly provide communications services for important travel routes across the Pacific, the eastern Pacific Ocean and the west coast of North America, according to CASC.
The satellite carries a Ka-band high-throughout communications payload designed for broadband internet services, and also hosts Ku-band and C-band transponders, Spaceflight Now notes.
The satellite is based on a DFH-4 satellite platform. It was manufactured by the China Academy of Space Technology and will be operated by China Satcom, both subsidiaries of CASC. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, another institute owned by CASC, provided the launch vehicle for the mission.
Zhongxing 19 was China's 49th launch of 2022. The nation looks set to beat its record of 55 launches, which was set last year.
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Andrew is a freelance space journalist with a focus on reporting on China's rapidly growing space sector. He began writing for Space.com in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and others. Andrew first caught the space bug when, as a youngster, he saw Voyager images of other worlds in our solar system for the first time. Away from space, Andrew enjoys trail running in the forests of Finland. You can follow him on Twitter @AJ_FI.