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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

China kicks off a busy 2021 in space with communications satellite launch

• - Andrew Jones

A Long March 3B rocket lifted off at 11:25 a.m. EST Jan. 19 (1625 GMT, 12:25 a.m. local time on Jan. 20) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the hills of China's Sichuan province. 

Just under an hour later the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), China's main space contractor, confirmed that the satellite had been successfully inserted into geosynchronous transfer orbit — a path satellites take to reach a geostationary orbit high above the Earth.

In the following weeks the satellite will reach its intended position in geostationary orbit. At an altitude of 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers), the satellite will orbit at a speed which effectively keeps it fixed over a point on the Earth below, making such orbits very useful for providing stable communications services.