China is manufacturing its most sophisticated satellite platform for the development of geo-stationary satellites to be used in the country and the Asia-Pacific region, industry insiders said yesterday in Beijing.
“China’s new generation geo-stationary satellite platform — the chassis or framework that carries a satellite’s equipment payload — featuring long life and large capacity, will be put into use around 2004,” Wang Haibo, an official with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), told China Daily in an exclusive interview.
The platform will be first used to develop a satellite — Sinosat-II — for a Beijing-based operator, Sino Satellite Communications Co., to meet the country’s mounting demands for communications and broadcasting, company president Cheng Guangren confirmed yesterday.
“The new satellite platform, coded as Dongfanghong-IV, will reach or exceed the level of the advanced foreign systems currently in use,” Wang said. “It has a designed lifespan of 15 years, and its end-of-life power output is expected to reach 10,000 watts — parameters ranking the platform among the world’s best.”
While the Dongfanghong-III is able to carry a payload of 220 kilograms, the Dongfanghong-IV platform can support a payload of up to 800 kilograms, he said. Fuelled by economic expansion, China has predicted an immense growth of need for more communications satellites in the years to come. Already, CASC has negotiated with some “potential satellite customers” in the Asia-Pacific region, but Wang declined to specify who they were. So far, the country has not sold a single made-in-China satellite to a foreign country. The new satellite platform represents a shift in the mode of satellite development in China, Wang said.