Shanghai. May 21. INTERFAX-CHINA - China is scheduled to launch a new direct broadcast satellite, Chinasat-9, on June 9 after its predecessor, SinoSat-2, suffered a fatal technical failure in 2006, a source close to the situation said today.
"Chinasat-9 was transported to Xichang Qingshan Airport on May 5. It is scheduled to be launched on June 9," Huang Baozhong, vice president of Chinese satellite operator Sinosat, told Interfax.
The satellite will be put into orbit by a Chinese-developed Long March 3B carrier rocket, and operated by China Direct Broadcast Satellite Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Sinosat and China Satcom.
According to Wang Lian, vice director of the science and technology department of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), 47 state and province-level TV channels and 47 state and province-level radio channels will be broadcast through Chinasat-9.
The satellite, with a designed lifespan of 15 years, will orbit at 92.2 degrees east. It has eighteen 36MHz Ku-band transponders and four 54 MHz Ku-band transponders and has the capacity to deliver between 150 to 200 standard-definition and high-definition channels across China. It is capable of covering almost all of China, making it possible for at least 98 percent of the population to receive satellite TV using small dishes.
Together with the direct broadcast satellite Sinosat-4, which will be launched in the second half of next year, Chinasat-9 will form China's first generation direct broadcast satellite system.
Like Sinosat-2, Chinasat-9 utilizes Advanced Broadcasting System-Satellite (ABS-S), China's homegrown satellite transmission technology. By using ABS-S, transponder bandwidth efficiency can be boosted by 30 percent, Wang said.
Broadcasting television directly from satellite to homes or businesses is an alternative for areas where over-the-air VHF/UHF reception is either poor or lacking in variety, or cable distribution facilities are absent.
Of China's 378 million households, 140 million are cable TV users. The majority of remaining users receive terrestrial TV, according to statistics cited by Sina.
China Satcom, one of China's six state-owned telecom carriers, purchased Chinasat-9 from Alcatel Space in April 2005 for EUR 100 million ($157.7 million). Alcatel Space was later transferred to Thales Alenia Space.
Sinosat-2 was launched on Oct. 29 last year. A month later, reports stated that it failed to deploy its solar panels and communication antennae, and was deemed inoperable.