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New Direct Broadcast Satellite to Replace Sinosat-2
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China will launch a new direct broadcast satellite later this year after its predecessor, Sinosat-2, suffered a fatal technical failure in space one month after its launch.

Chinasat-9, also the country's second direct-to-home satellite, was scheduled to be launched in September or October, said Du Baichuan, deputy director of the science and technology sector of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

Du gave no specific timetable for the launch.

The France-made Chinasat-9 is capable of covering almost all of China, making it possible for at least 98 percent of the population to receive satellite television using small dishes.

Chinasat-9 was originally planned to complement Sinosat-2 as mutual back-up to form China's first-generation direct broadcast satellite system.

SinoSat-2, China's first direct-to-home satellite, was launched on Oct. 29 last year. It was revealed a month later that it failed to deploy its solar panels and communication antennae and was deemed inoperable.

China has 12.6 million digital TV subscribers and a total of 400 million television sets, suggesting a huge potential market for satellite TV.

(Xinhua News Agency March 16, 2007)

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