China successfully launched the APStar-9 commercial communications satellite using its Long March 3B rocket on Friday, Oct. 15. Liftoff of the rocket took place as scheduled at 12:16 p.m. EDT (16:16 GMT) from Launch Area 2 (LA-2) at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center located in Sichuan province.
During the flight, which lasted lasting approximately 26 minutes, ending in spacecraft separation, the rocket fired its third stage twice.
Chinese media reported that monitoring data collected after the satellite separated from the launch vehicle indicated that it had reached its designated geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) of 142 degrees east longitude.
The construction of the APStar-9 satellite started in October 2014, followed by the integration of the communications payload and the beginning of end-to-end testing in early 2015. The spacecraft was shipped to the launch site on Aug. 27 for final processing, propellant loading, and integration with the launch vehicle.