(Yicai Global) April 13 -- Yesterday's successful launch of Shijian-13, a communications satellite that is more powerful than all China's others combined, has greatly increased the country's ability to transmit data.
Shijian-13 was put into space atop the heavy-lift Long March 3B carrier rocket at 7.04 p.m. yesterday from China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province.
The satellite will provide internet service for moving vehicles, ships, and planes and features a Ka-band broadband communications system capable of transmitting 20 gigabytes of data per second. Its predecessors used a 2 gigabyte per second system.
Shijian-13 offers users a download speed of 150 megabytes per second and an upload speed of 12 megabytes per second, China's Economic Daily reported.
Its signal covers most of China's land (although it does not reach parts of the southwest and northeast) and up to 200 kilometers of coastal waters, including places that otherwise lack wireless and optical fiber internet services. It is expected that in three years Chinese netizens will have broadband internet access while travelling by air or rail and in secluded mountains.
Shijian-13 is China's first high-orbit satellite to use electric propulsion to maintain north-south station-keeping (NSSK) throughout its entire lifecycle without consuming any chemical propellant.
"In the past, a satellite needed around 3,000 kilograms of chemical propellants -- roughly 60 percent of its total weight, of which more than 600 kilograms was used for north-south station-keeping," a specialist at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said. "By contrast, NSSK on Shijian-13 is completed using only 100 kg of xenon."