China sent a new data relay satellite into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province late Sunday night.
The Tianlian II-01 satellite was launched at 11:51 p.m. Beijing Time by a Long March-3B carrier rocket. As the first satellite to constitute China's second-generation data relay satellite network, the Tianlian II-01 will provide data relay, measurement and control, transmission services for manned spacecraft, satellites, carrier rockets and other non-spacecraft users. The Tianlian II network will be markedly more advanced in mission planning, system management and operations than the first-generation network composed of Tianlian I satellites.
The new network, with faster data transfer and higher multi-objective service capability, will play an important role in improving the transmission promptness, on-orbit security and mission flexibility for MEO and LEO satellites and manned spacecraft.
The satellite was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. This launch marks the 301st mission of the Long March carrier rocket series.