Apstar 7
Mission typeCommunication
OperatorAPT Satellite
COSPAR ID2012-013A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.38107
Mission duration15 years[1]
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerThales Alenia Space
Launch mass5,054 kilograms (11,142 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date31 March 2012, 10:27 (2012-03-31UTC10:27Z) UTC
RocketChang Zheng 3B/E
Launch siteXichang LC-2
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Longitude76.5° East[1]
Perigee altitude35,784 kilometres (22,235 mi)
Apogee altitude35,802 kilometres (22,246 mi)
Inclination0.04 degrees
Period23.93 hours
Epoch19 December 2013, 16:37:15 UTC[2]

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.[3]

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.[1] 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;[1] 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.[4] 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.[5]

Operational history

Thales Alenia Space built Apstar-7 as an ITAR-free satellite, containing no restricted American components.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Krebs, Gunter. "APStar 7, 7B". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  2. ^ "APSTAR 7 Satellite details 2012-013A NORAD 38107". N2YO. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  3. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (31 March 2012). "Chinese Long March 3B/E launches Apstar-7". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  4. ^ "APSTAR-7 system characteristics". APT Satellite Holdings. Archived from the original on 5 May 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  5. ^ McDowell, Jonathan (12 April 2012). "Issue 656". Jonathan's Space Report. Archived from the original on 6 December 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  6. ^ Clark, Stephen (31 March 2012). "Chinese rocket lifts off with communications satellite". Spaceflight Now.
  7. ^ Capaccio, Tony (29 April 2013). "Pentagon Using China Satellite for U.S.-Africa Command". Bloomberg. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  8. ^ Ferster, Warren (5 September 2013). "U.S. Satellite Component Maker Fined $8 Million for ITAR Violations". SpaceNews.