China's new small satellite platform debuts
(05 Oct 2021) China is offering a small communication satellite platform to countries seeking an affordable solution for their own space-based Internet networks.
The DFH-3E satellite platform was designed by the China Academy of Space Technology, a subsidiary of the State-owned space conglomerate, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. It is the country's first small satellite platform designed for operations in geostationary orbit, according to Xiong Xiaojiang, head of the platform's design team at the Beijing academy.
Xiong said satellites based on the electrically propelled DFH-3E platform will be able to carry up to 30 transponders and operate in a geostationary orbit for at least 15 years. With a mass of up to 1.8 metric tons, the satellite is tasked with establishing a space-based Internet service and is designed to be lifted into orbit by a Chang Zheng 2C or 2D rocket, he added.
The designer noted that the first satellite based on the platform – Apstar-6E, owned by Hong Kong-based satellite operator, APT Satellite – will be launched before the end of 2022. It will provide broadband Internet services to Southeast Asian nations.
[When announced in 2018, the platform was described as an all-electric DFH-4 version. – Ed.]