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Satellites for Greater TV Coverage in Remote Areas
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The planned launch of two direct broadcasting satellites in China within the next two years is expected to beam TV programs to the country's most remote areas.

China Great Wall Industry Corp and China Satellite Communication Corp (ChinaSat) signed a contract in Beijing yesterday to put ChinaSat 9 into orbit in the second half of 2007. The satellite is one of two that will beam TV programs to the country's most remote areas.

The country's first generation direct broadcasting satellite system should be operational by 2007, when French-made ChinaSat 9 joins Chinese-developed SinoSat 2 satellite in space. SinoSat 2 is expected to be launched next year.

"ChinaSat 9 is a powerful direct broadcasting satellite capable of beaming TV programs to 98 percent of the population," Lu Lijin, a senior engineer with the ChinaSat, said.

ChinaSat 9 is expected to work alongside SinoSat 2, which is being developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) based on Dongfanghong IV, China's latest communications satellite platform, according to Lu.

SinoSat 2 is slated to be launched in mid-2006, according to Fan Xingmin, an executive with the satellite owner, Beijing-based Sino Satellite Communications Co.

Both SinoSat 2 and ChinaSat 9 will move in the same orbit, Lu said.

The satellites will guarantee 100 percent uninterrupted broadcasting services, Lu said.

The system will benefit in particular people living in very remote areas, he added.

They will be able to dispense with TV relay stations and receive direct broadcasts using smaller dishes measuring with 0.45 meters to 0.6 meters in diameter, he said.

Even at a 1 yuan (US$12 cents) per channel service fee, direct satellite TV broadcasting is expected to generate a revenue of at least 15 billion yuan (US$1.8 billion) each year between 2008 and 2017, he said.

China currently rents 37 transponders in 12 foreign-made satellites for broadcasting services, Lu said.

(China Daily November 10, 2005)

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