China puts European satellite into orbit

Beijing:  China on Tuesday "successfully" launched a European-made telecommunications satellite into orbit aboard a Chinese rocket, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The satellite, made by Thales Alenia Space, will provide telecommunications services for customers in Asia, Africa and Europe, the report said, but did not name them.

The satellite had reached its proper orbit and was operating normally after being lifted aloft by a Long March-3B rocket which took off from a base in the southwestern province of Sichuan on Tuesday evening, Xinhua said.

Thales Alenia Space, a world leader in satellites, is a joint subsidiary of French defence electronics company Thales which holds 67 percent and Italian aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica which has the remaining 33 per cent.

China views satellite launches as part of its ambitious space programme. The country sent its first female astronaut, Liu Yang, into space earlier this year on the Shenzhou-9 in China's first manual space docking mission.

Last month, a Chinese rocket successfully launched a Venezuelan earth-observation satellite into orbit, as the two countries forge closer economic ties.

Story First Published: November 27, 2012 20:41 IST

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