Since the launch of first satellite – China 1 in 1970, China has come a long way in space exploration. By conducting several kinds of research and exploration programs, China has created a notable presence in global space research segment. With the help of The Center for Space Science and Applied Research (CSSAR), China has been articulating ambitious long-term programs to explore the hidden secrets of space and one such program is its communication satellite mission, initiated in 2012. After successfully launching three communication satellites of the Tianlian series, China, on 22nd November launched the fourth satellite of the series, called ‘Tianlian I-04′.

Tuesday, on 22nd November, China has successfully dispatched a Long March 3C missile carrying fourth Tianlian-1 communications satellite. The Tianlia-1-04 is the fourth data tracking and relay communication satellite of China. It is designed for secure communication between orbiting spaceships and on-ground scientists. The liftoff of Tianlian-1-04 took place at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern region of Sichuan at 11:24 p.m. Beijing time (15:24 GMT / 10:24 a.m. EST).

The Chinese tracking and data relay satellite, ‘Tianlian I-04’, like its former satellites is designed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). The newly launched satellite bears quite similar design to the American Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS). The system of the satellite is intended to back up near-real-time communications between orbiting spaceships and ground-based control system. The system will go together with the ground-based space monitoring and telemetry stations and spaceships for enhancing the upcoming space projects of China.

Developed by CAST, the Tianlian-1-04 is enriched with CAST’s DFH-3 bus like its previous models. Weighing around 2100 KG, the box-shaped DFH-3 platform carries the dimension of 7.28 ft × 5.64 ft × 7.2 ft (2.22 m × 1.72 m × 2.2 m). It is also integrated with two portable stellar arrays and a communications transmitter and can deliver up to1, 700 W of power for eight years.

The first communication spacecraft, Tianlian-1 was blasted off from the ground on 25th April 2008, followed by the launch of Tianlian-1-02 on July 11, 2011, and Tianlian-1-03 on 25th July 2012. The network enclosed by the three Tianlian-1 spacecraft are already working on getting global coverage for China’s monitoring, and data communicate system and the fourth one is expected to take it to the next level.


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