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China to build first satellite for European nation

(China Daily)

09:22, September 20, 2011

BEIJING - China will build and launch a communications satellite for Belarus, according to a contract signed between the two countries on Sunday in Minsk.

It is the seventh in-orbit delivery contract that China has signed, but the first with a European client, China Great Wall Industry Corp, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, said on Monday.

"The contract with Belarus marks China's expansion of satellite in-orbit delivery service to the European market," said Yin Liming, president of China Great Wall Industry Corp, the only one in China authorized to conduct commercial launches for international customers.

The communications satellite will use the Dongfanghong-4 satellite platform and has a designed lifespan of 15 years, according to the contract.

It will be launched atop a Long March 3-B rocket carrier at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China's Sichuan province two years and a half after the contract takes effect.

China will also build a ground station in Minsk for Belarus to monitor and control the satellite, and provide related training to Belarusian technicians.

Different from the past six contracts for in-orbit delivery of communications satellites, this project is the first time that China Great Wall Industry Corp has joined in the satellite's operation.

"It marks an extension to our service chain," Yin said.

For Belarus, the communications satellite - the first one it owns - will be used to improve radio, television and telecommunications service, distance learning and Internet access.

This year China is slated to conduct three commercial launches, two of which are communications satellites made in China to be delivered in orbit.

One built by China for Pakistan was launched in August, and will be delivered soon, a company source said.

In another development, China successfully launched a new communications satellite, Zhongxing-1A, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Monday.

The satellite, lifted by a Long March-3B rocket carrier, blasted off from the center at 0:33 am and successfully entered its preset orbit, sources with the center said.

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