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China to Launch 'SinoSat-3' After Previous Failure
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A substitute satellite for the failed SinoSat-2, which was to be China's first direct-to-home broadcasting satellite, will be launched in May next year, according to a SinoSat spokesman.


"The company is drafting a replacement plan," said spokesman Fan Xinming "The substitute satellite will not be a carbon copy of the previous one and we're expecting more technical upgrades."


In the company's first public admission that SinoSat-2 suffered a technical failure on November 8, spokesman Fan Xinming, said the satellite failed when solar power panels ceased to function. "Thus the spacecraft was unable to provide broadcasting and telecommunications services," he said.


Fan was quick to defend SinoSat-2 in the wake of criticism over the costly flop. "High risks are characteristic of the space industry. Many other satellite operators in China and overseas have suffered similar mishaps before," he said.


"The SinoSat-2 is now located in a quasi-GEO orbit and further investigations are being conducted into the manufacturing faults," added Fan.


SinoSat-2, developed by the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology, is designed to serve broadcast, digital and live broadcast TV and digital broadband multimedia systems on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.


SinoSat-2 was launched on October 29 this year and scheduled to operate for 15 years. "We'll not lose confidence in the domestic space manufacturing industry despite the setback." he said. Fan also announced that SinoSat-3, dedicated to radio and television services, would be launched in May 2007. "The research and preparation for the new satellite have been going smoothly," he said.


Industry analysts predict that when individuals are allowed to install satellite dishes up to 100 million households will do that between 2006 and 2010.


(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2006)

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