Chinasat-1C launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center reached GTO

According to, China launched yesterday, at 16:46 UTC, next communication satellite.

Famous phrase uttered by Nikita Khrushchev on rockets extruding from factories like sausages had not became reality in USSR. But it seems that with minor changes became reality in China. Shortly after launching Yaogan-29 (You can read post here), China again is launching spacecraft with not clear purpose. According to official sources, satellite is owned by China Satellite Communications Co., Ltd. and is designed to:

"The "ChinaSat-1C" satellite was launched at 0:46 a.m. and carried by the Long March-3B carrier rocket. It will provide high-quality voice, data and radio and TV transmission services."

In opinion of western sources, Chinasat-1C is military communication satellite launched to supplement existing constellation of satellites operating 36000 km above the equator. They are actually providing voice and data communication, but according to some sources, for military in encrypted, guaranteeing complete confidentiality, form on Ku band. Satellite is based on DFH-4 platform designed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and being utilized since 2007 (first military satellites built on this platform were launched on 2011). In standard version satellite based on DFH-4 has weight at 5300 kg (maximally 700 kg of payload); in extended version satellite weighs up to 6000 kg and is able to take up to 1000 kg of payload. Standard version has power output at 10000 W, extended - up to 13500 W provided by two deployable solar arrays and onboard internal battery. Main onboard instruments are C, Ku, Ka and L band transponders. Operational life is at 15 years.

During this mission Long March 3B rocket was utilized. It is three stage liquid fueled rockets with four liquid fueled boosters. Its construction origins from mid-eighties and was first attempts of China to design rocket compatible with modern, western communication satellites operating on GTO orbit. First flight of version 3B took place on 2007. In standard version "B" payload capacity for GTO is 5100 kg, with enlarged boosters (B version - 15.33 m, B/E version - 16.1 m. Diameter is at 2.25 m in both versions) it is able to lift up to 5500 kg (choice of the rocket let us suppose that satellite was in standard version, not the extended - 6000 kg it is too much for Long March 3B). Rocket in version B/E is height for 54.838 m with diameter at 3.35 m. B version weighs at 425,800 kg and B/E weighs 458,970 kg. First stage is supported by four boosters powered by one YF-25 engine with thrust at 740.4 kN and fueled by 41100 kg of N2O4/UDMH. They are working for 127 seconds; first stage (fueled in B version with 171800 kg and in B/E with 186200 kg N2O4/UDMH), which propulsion are four YF-21C engines with specific impulse lasting 260.69 seconds, and thrust at 2961.6 kN. In b version first stage is long for 23.27 m, in B/E version - for 24.76 m. Difference in length is caused by longer tanks in B/E version, but it is reflected only in burn time: 145 seconds versus 158 seconds. Second stage (fueled with 49400 kg of N2O4/UDMH) propulsion is combination of one central engine and four stabilizing, vernier engines; YF-24E with thrust at 742 kN and four YF-23C engines with thrust at 47.1 kN. Second stage is long for 12.92 m. Third stage is equipped with one YF-75 engine with thrust at 167.17 kN and is long for 12.38 m with diameter slightly smaller than previous two stages - 3 m. Fuel capacity is 18200 kg of LH2/LOX.