Tiantong-1 launched !

Just as it was predicted by Chinese media, Tiantong-1 communication satellite was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

Long March 3B/G2 lifted off today at 16:22 GMT from Launch Complex 3 launch site. It delivered to geostationary orbit satellite designed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) to support new mobile telecommunication service created by China Telecom mainly for Asian, Middle East and African market. According to Xinhua news agency, launch (36th of Long March 3B) was successful. It was confirmed that third stage of the Long March 3B/G2 separated with one satellite; USSTRATCOM gave both following numbers for further tracking: 2016-048A for Tiantong-1 and 2016-048B for third stage of LM-3B/G2. According to data published by USSTRATCOM orbit parameters for Tiantong-1A are: apogee at 35851 k, perigee at 193 km and inclination at 28.59°. Satellite was probably based on reliable DFH-4 bus and is powered by two deployable solar arrays and onboard batteries. It will use S band to provide communication services, but it was not unveiled anything about payload of the satellite or its technical parameters. It was not officially confirmed how China Telecom will develop this mobile system, but Xinhua claims that next satellites will be launched to establish whole constellation of Tiantong communication satellites.