China expects to launch a new-generation communications satellite that is of bigger capacity and longer service duration in the first half of 2005, according to a senior Chinese satellite researcher.
Yuan Jiajun, head of the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology, said recently that the satellite under development would feature nearly 10,000 kilowatts of output power, 5,100 kilograms of takeoff weight and a designed service life of 15 years.
The development of the preliminary model is nearing its end, he noted. Development of the flight model will begin by the end of this year.
Yuan said his institute and China's Sino-Satellite Communications Company Ltd. signed the contract to develop the satellite, named "Sinosat-II", in May 2002. Under the contract, "Sinosat-II" will be based on the Dongfanghong-IV common platform developed by the institute for large-scale geostationary orbit communications satellites.
The common platform, a priority of China's civilian satellite program for the 10th Five-Year Plan period (2001-2005), possesses the same functions as advanced common platforms in foreign countries, Yuan acknowledged.
He said small-batch production of the platform would begin in the near future.
(Xinhua News Agency November 26, 2003)