Newly Launched Chinese Satellite Malfunctions

By Lin Yuguo, Central News Agency
November 24, 2006 Updated: November 24, 2006

CHINA—Insiders from China's Sino Satellite Communications revealed that because its main solar energy array did not open on time, the SinoSat-2 satellite launched late last October had “stopped working”. The initial damage estimate is about two billion RMB yuan (approximately US$250 million.)

The solar array charges the craft's battery and provides all the electrical power fo the satellite's operation.

On November 20, the China Human Rights Information Center in Hong Kong was the first reported the incident when it reported that because the solar array did not open on schedule the antenna on the satellite could not relay normal operating instructions. Consequently China's newly launched communication satellite had broken down.

Hong Kong's Mingpao newspaper reported that Sino Satellite Communication's technical support department is making efforts to save the satellite. Sino Satellite Communication will service their contracted clients with back-up plans to make sure that service continues. Sino Satellite Communications' major clients include TV stations from China, Hong Kong, and Macao, digital TV, cable TV and live TV services.

It was reported that SinoSat-2 was independently developed by the China Outer Space Technology Institute; it is the first large-capacity, long-life and high-efficiency satellite developed by the institute. It was launched on October 29 at Xichang Satellite Launching Center atop a CZ-3B rocket.

The SinoSat-2 project began in 2000. The satellite weighs in 5.1 tons, and is designed to last 15 years. Equipped with 22 channel ku frequency-band transponder, it is claimed to be the first new-generation satellite developed by China that could never be “interrupted by an uplink-interfering signal.”

It's estimated that the direct loss is 2 billion yuan (approximately US$250 million); if it repairs prove to be more complex then the total lost could be as high as 100 billion yuan (approximately US$ 12.5 billion.)