A new relay satellite launched late Sunday night will allow videos calls to be made between China's future space station and the ground and provide data transmission and control services for various spacecraft.
The Tianlian II-01 satellite was sent to an orbit at an altitude of 36,000 km by a Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 11:51 p.m. Beijing Time on Sunday.
The satellite, developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, will provide data transmission services for satellites operating on medium- and low-Earth orbit and monitoring and control support for the launch of spacecraft.
"The Tianlian II-01 ushered in the construction of a new generation of the relay satellite system for China," said Zhang Peng, commander in chief of the research team of the satellite from CAST.
From 2008 to 2016, China launched four relay satellites to form the Tianlian I system, making China the second country in the world to establish a relay satellite system which is able to cover the whole world. The system can provide global real-time information transmission.
As the first satellite of China's second-generation relay satellite system, Tianlian II-1 is compatible with the Tianlian I system, but its transmission speed and volume and coverage area have been greatly improved, according to Zhang.