Asiasat 4 successfully launched on Atlas 3B

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida: Atlas 3B(AC -204), the two-stage rocket capable of lifting payloads of upto 4500 kgs carried an Asian communication satellite, Asiasat 4, in space on 11 April 2003 (Hong Kong time 8:08 am on 12 April). Now, the system is empowered to provide broadcast services to more than 300 million viewers in the Asia Pacific region.

Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company (AsiaSat) had earlier announced that the postponement of the launch by a day due to high winds.

A press release informs that AsiaSat 4, a Boeing 601HP satellite, will be deployed at the orbital location of 122 degrees East longitude. The new satellite will be the most powerful member of AsiaSat's satellite fleet, carrying 28 C-band and 20 Ku-band transponders with a 15-year design life, the release adds.

The release also informs that AsiaSat 4's pan-Asian C-band footprint will cover more than 40 countries and regions spanning from New Zealand to the Middle East. Its Ku-band coverage will consist of two high-power focused beams for East Asia and Australasia, as well as a new BSS (Broadcast Satellite Service) payload for Direct-to-Home (DTH) services in Hong Kong and the adjacent South China region.

AsiaSat 4 is designed to provide advanced satellite services including broadband and IP solutions, and telecommunications services such as private networks for business and rural telephony in the Asia Pacific. Reports indicate that the new satellite has a life expectancy of 15 years.

In addition, AsiaSat 4 will complement the company's two existing satellites, AsiaSat 2 and AsiaSat 3S, allowing customers to enjoy greater flexibility for regional coverage and comprehensive back up options, adds a release.

The release also says that the Lockheed Martin-built Atlas 3B rocket used an RD 180 liquid oxygen and kerosene main engine to boost the satellite into space. A liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen-powered Centaur upper stage placed the satellite into a geostationary orbit over Indonesia.

The cost of the mission was about US $240 million, including the satellite and the launch vehicle, AsiaSat said.

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