XICHANG, Sichuan Province, Jan. 6 China successfully launched the No.2 telecommunication technology test satellite late Thursday night from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
The satellite was launched at 11:18 p.m. by a Long March-3B carrier rocket.
China kicked off its 2017 campaign with the successful launch of the second Tongxin Jishu Shiyan Weixing (TJSW) spacecraft from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Launch took place at 15:18 UTC on Thursday using the Long March-3B/G2 ‘Chang Zheng-3B/G2’ (Y39) launch vehicle from the LC2 launch complex.
This launch was set to be the final mission of 2016, which would have seen China become the dominate launch nation of the year. However, based on a tiebreaker rule, USA won the title with the same amount of launches in the 12 month period.
As with the previous launch of Communications Engineering Test Satellite -1 ‘TJSW-1’, there is isn’t much information regarding the satellite.
When TJSW-1 was launched on September 12, 2015, Chinese authorities said the new satellite was a geostationary communications technology test satellite to be mainly used to conduct a test on Ka-band in broadband communication (frequencies between 27 and 40 GHz).
Previous to the launch of TJSW-1, there were rumors circling on specialized Chinese space forums that pointed to the launch of the first Great Wall (Changcheng) satellite, a new series of Chinese satellites dedicated to early warning similar to the American Space Based Infra-Red Sensor satellites.
Back then, Japan’s Kyodo News reported that China was building a missile defense system to detect a ballistic missile attack. The report was based on Chinese military documents that referred the development of an experimental early warning satellite program.
Additionally, the report pointed out that China had started the development of an X-band radar system as part of a ground-based interceptor system.
Eventually, TJSW-1 was orbited in a geostationary orbit and no other information was revealed. Later it was known that the satellite had successfully deployed China’s first large aperture reflector antenna in orbit.
The same secrecy surrounds the launch of TJSW-2. Observers noted that a new launch was ‘added’ to the Chinese schedule with rumors of a new geostationary launch out of Xichang in late December. The lack of information and the nature of the launch preparations, with only marginal references to the payload, point to the secretive nature of the satellite.