China has successfully launched a Long March 3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China’s Sichuan province. The rocket carried the ChinaSat 26 communications satellite into a geostationary orbit. Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology in Beijing, the ChinaSat 26 satellite has the largest transmission capacity of all Chinese communications satellites, at 100 gigabits per second. The satellite will connect user devices mounted on cars, ships, and aircraft to high-speed broadband internet. Designers at the academy claim that the ChinaSat 26 is the most advanced civilian communications satellite in China, and its overall capability is on par with the best in the world. They added that once the satellite starts formal operation, it will become a pillar of China’s high-throughput satellite network.
The successful launch marks the 463rd mission of the Long March family and China’s sixth rocket liftoff in 2023, as well as the first flight of the Long March 3B model. China plans to carry out around 60 launch missions in 2023, including manned and robotic flights to the Tiangong space station and the maiden flight of the Long March 6C. The successful launch of the ChinaSat 26 demonstrates China’s growing capabilities in space technology and its ambition to become a major player in the global space industry.