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Chinese rocket launches with first Algerian satellite on board Open in fullscreen

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Chinese rocket launches with first Algerian satellite on board

China's Long March 3B rocket carried the Algerian satellite into orbit [Getty file-photo]

Date of publication: 11 December, 2017

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Alcomsat-1, Algeria's first telecommunications satellite, was successfully launched on board a Chinese rocket on Sunday night.
Alcomsat-1, Algeria's first telecommunications satellite, was launched on board a Chinese rocket on Sunday night.

The launch was successful, state-owned Algeria Press Service reported, with the satellite injected into an elliptical "supersynchronous" transfer orbit arcing as high as 26,100 miles (42,000 kilometers) above the earth, circling the planet on a track tilted 26.4 degrees.

China Great Wall Industry Corp. (CGWIC), the manufacturer of the satellite, confirmed in a statement the successful launch on board a Long March 3B rocket.

The 5,225-kilogram satellite carries a 33-transponder payload comprised of 19 in Ku-band, 12 in Ka-band and two in L-band, according to the statement.

"The Alcomsat-1 satellite programme is the first communications satellite programme of Algeria, and also (marks) the bilateral cooperation between Algeria and China in space technology for the first time," CGWIC said.

"Algeria and China are strategic partners with comprehensive cooperation," the statement said. "The successful launch of Alcomsat 1 is the good beginning of space cooperation between (the) two countries. More cooperation (and) more space programs are expected to be initiated soon."

According to Spaceflight Now, China Great Wall Industry Corp. and the Algeria Space Agency signed the Alcomsat-1 contract in December 2013.

Alcomsat-1 is designed for television broadcast, broadband Internet, remote education, emergency communication, e-government and enterprise communication services, Spaceflight Now said.

CGWIC built the satellite and provided the launch vehicle while sidestepping manufacturing and rocket restrictions tied to US components, which are in most other commercial telecom satellites, SpaceNews.com reported.

US International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR, prevent US-built satellites and those with certain components from launching on Chinese rockets, blocking most non-Chinese satellites from launching on Chinese rockets.

The Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) will operate Alcomsat-1, which has a design life of 15 years.

In October, a European rocket launched Morocco's first military satellite. Morocco and Algeria are geopolitical rivals and there was speculation the space-based equipment was designed partly to spy on Algeria.

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