|New Communications Satellite Launched|
At 18:27, March 31, 2012, China blasted off APSTAR-7 communications satellite developed by Thales Alenia Space France (TASF) for APSTAR aboard a CZIIIB launch vehicle, from the Xi’chang Satellite Launch Center. 26 minutes after lifting off, the Xi'an ground control received the data showing that the satellite was separated from the carrier rocket, and entered a geosynchronous transfer orbit at a perigee of 209 km, an apogee of 50,419 km, and an orbital inclination of 27.4 degrees.
APSTAR-7 is an advanced communications satellite developed by Thales Alenia Space France for APSTAR, aboard with 28 C-band and 28 Ku-band transponders for a design lifetime over 15 years. The satellite will replace the current APSTAR-2R satellite at 76.5°East Longitude, providing beams to Asia, Middle East, Africa, Australia and part of Europe, and in-beam and cross-beam broadcast and telecommunication services to China, Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa.