Launch Updates - Analytical Graphics, Inc.

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New Launch: 2011 December 19, 1641 UTC
Site: Xichang Launch Facility, PRC
Launcher: Long March 3B (Chang Zheng 3B)
International Designator(s): 2011-077A
SSC Name Owner

"A Long March rocket launched Monday with a powerful Chinese-built, Nigerian-owned communications satellite to serve Africans with television, education, navigation and security services.

"Nigeria ordered the mission from China in 2009, purchasing a multi-use satellite built by the China Academy of Space Technology and arranging a Long March rocket launch from China Great Wall Industry Corp., the commercial sales firm for Chinese launchers.

"The satellite-builder and launch provider are both controlled by the Chinese government. The spacecraft will be operated by Nigcomsat Ltd., a communications firm owned by the Nigerian government.

"The 11,200-pound [5,080-kg] satellite, named Nigcomsat 1R, blasted off on a Long March 3B rocket at 1641 GMT (11:41 a.m. EST) Monday from the Xichang space center, a military-run base in Sichuan province of southwest China.

"Launch was at 12:41 a.m. Beijing time, and the 18-story launcher flew into mostly clear skies before its fiery exhaust plume faded from view in a video from the launch site.

"The Long March 3B rocket, featuring enhancements to haul more cargo into space, released the Nigcomsat 1R payload in orbit about 26 minutes after liftoff. The launcher was targeting an orbit with a low point of 124 miles [200 km], a high point of 26,092 miles [41,991 km] and an inclination of 24.8 degrees, according to China Great Wall Industry Corp.

"Chinese state media said the launch was successful."

"Nigcomsat 1R's communications package includes 28 active transponders and seven antennas reaching across sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Central Asia.

"The transponders will broadcast in C-band, Ku-band, Ka-band and L-band, according to Nigcomsat. The satellite will be positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 42.5 degrees east longitude.

"China added several upgrades to Nigcomsat 1R to improve its performance over the preceding Nigcomsat 1 satellite. A Ku-band spot beam on Nigcomsat 1R will provide communications links between Nigeria and China, according to Nigcomsat's website.

"Nigcomsat 1R could stimulate economic growth in Africa, helping create jobs and saving customers expensive charges for telephone calls and broadband Internet access.

"The satellite's C-band payload will reach across Africa, while its Ku-band transponders will be aimed at regions of southwestern Africa and China. The Ka-band system will be wired into spot beams focused on Europe, Nigeria and South Africa, according to Nigcomsat.

"Nigcomsat 1R will transmit two L-band navigation channels make for more accurate satellite positioning services in Africa."

[Note: This launch notification was delayed pending identification by USSTRATCOM.]

Source: Spaceflight Now, "China, Nigeria team up for broadcasting satellite launch"

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