XICHANG – China sent a new data relay satellite into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China’s Sichuan Province early Tuesday morning. The Tianlian II-02 satellite was launched at 0:09 a.m. Beijing Time by a Long March-3B carrier rocket.
It was the 401st flight mission of the Long March carrier rocket series.
Developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, Tianlian II-02 is the country’s second-generation data relay satellite, which will be tasked with relaying data for spaceships, space labs, and its future space station.
It will also offer data relay services for low- and mid-orbiting satellites and will be used to track and monitor spacecraft launches, the company said in a statement. Compared with its predecessor Tianlian II-01, the newly launched satellite has enhanced capability to serve multiple users and can better work in different orbital positions. China sent its first Tianlian satellite on April 25, 2008.
After Tuesday’s launch, the country currently has a total of seven relay satellites in orbit.
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