Beijing: China on Saturday put into orbit a new communication satellite in a commercial mission by the Long March-3B carrier rocket from the southwestern Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.
Developed using China's homegrown DFH-4 platform for the Hong Kong-based APT Satellite Company Limited, 'APSTAR-9' is designed to stay in service for at least 15 years.
It will replace its predecessor 'APSTAR-9A', which was launched in 1998 with a designed mission life of 15 years also.
Monitoring data collected 26 minutes after the satellite's launch at 0:16 am Beijing time indicated that it had separated from the rocket and reached its designated orbit, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
With the new satellite, APT's 'APSTAR' fleet will be able to cover some three quarters of global population in Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia to provide TV transmission and transponder, data and satellite communication services.
Today's launch is the 214th mission of the Long March carrier rocket series developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC).