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China Launched Its First Relay Satellite

At 23:35 April 25, 2008, China blasted off a relay satellite from the Xi'chang Satellite

Launch Center. 25 minutes after the launch, the ground control received data indicating

that the satellite has entered the preset geostationary transfer orbit. Tianlian 01, the

relay satellite, will serve as a telecommunication hub between the Shenzhou 7 capsule, a

spacecraft to be launched late this year, and the ground control, allowing a greatly

enhanced coverage from 12% to 60%. The satellite, launched for the first time aboard a

novel 3-stage liquid fuel launch vehicle named CZIII-C, is designed with two boosters, a

total length of 55-m, and a take-off weight of 343 tons.

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