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Thursday, December 27, 2018

China Launches TJS-3 Telecommunication Technology Test Satellite

Long March-3C carrier rocket blasts off from the launch pad at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Xichang, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Dec. 25, 2018. China successfully launched the No. 3 telecommunication technology test satellite on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Wang Yulei)

China successfully launched the No. 3 telecommunication technology test satellite on Tuesday. The satellite was launched at 0:53 a.m. Beijing Time by a Long March 3C carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The People's Liberation Army Daily newspaper confirmed success of the launch 40 minutes later via social media, with the satellite inserted into geostationary transfer orbit.

The payload is known as the communication technology test satellite 3 (Tongxin Jishu Shiyan Weixing-3), or TJS-3, with few further details offered by Chinese media.

The satellite was developed and produced by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

TJS satellites are perceived by outside observers to be classified spacecraft for the Chinese military, and possibly early warning satellites for detecting and tracking ballistic missiles, similar to the US Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS), and would, if correct, provide China with capabilities that are otherwise absent.

Reporting on the TJS-1 satellite, developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, stated it would test Ka-Band frequency broadband communications.

TJS-2, this time developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) and launched in January 2017, was similarly described by Chinese media as simply an experimental communications satellite. Differences in the launches suggest the utility of the payloads may vary.

With 38 launches this year so far China will finish ahead of both the United States and Russia in launch rate for the first time.

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