|Mission duration||15 years|
|Manufacturer||Thales Alenia Space|
|Launch mass||5,054 kilograms (11,142 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||31 March 2012, 10:27UTC|
|Rocket||Chang Zheng 3B/E|
|Launch site||Xichang LC-2|
|Perigee altitude||35,784 kilometres (22,235 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||35,802 kilometres (22,246 mi)|
|Epoch||19 December 2013, 16:37:15 UTC|
Apstar-7 is a Chinese communications satellite which is operated by APT Satellite as part of the Apstar system. It was launched in 2012 as a replacement for the Apstar 2R satellite launched in 1997.
Apstar-7 was constructed by Thales Alenia Space, and is based on the Spacebus-4000C2 satellite bus. The satellite had a mass at launch of 5,054 kilograms (11,142 lb), and is expected to operate for at least 15 years. It is positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 76.5 degrees East, and carries 56 transponders with an operating power of 8.4 kilowatts; 28 operating in the C band and providing services to Asia, Africa, eastern and central Europe and Australia and the other 28 operating in the Ku band, covering Africa, the Middle East, China, and Taiwan. The satellite's solar arrays generate 11.4 kilowatts of power.
Apstar-7 was launched by a Long March 3B/E carrier rocket, flying from Launch Complex 2 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre. Liftoff took place at 10:27 UTC on 31 March 2012, with the rocket placing the satellite into a supersynchronous transfer orbit.
Thales Alenia Space built Apstar-7 as an ITAR-free satellite, containing no restricted American components. The United States prohibits the export of satellite components when a Chinese launcher will be used. Ironically, the US Department of Defense leased bandwidth on Apstar-7 in May 2012 to improve communications with the U.S. Africa Command. In 2013, Thales Alenia was forced to discontinue its ITAR-free satellite line after US supplier Aeroflex admitted that it had sold them ITAR-controlled components.