China launches secretive TJSW spacecraft from Xichang satellite launch center

NASA has reported that a secretive Tongxin Jishu Shiyan Weixing (TJSW) satellite was launched at China´s Xichang Satellite Launch Center using a Long March-3C/G2 launch vehicle from the LC3 launch complex, the administration said.

Following the launch of a previous satellite, Chinese authorities said the new satellite was a geostationary communications technology test satellite to be mainly used to conduct a test on Ka-band in broadband communication (frequencies between 27 and 40 GHz).

Eventually, TJSW-1 was orbited on a geostationary orbit and no other information was revealed. Later it was known that the satellite had successfully deployed China´s first large aperture reflector antenna in orbit.

The same secrecy surrounded the launch of TJSW-2 on January 5, 2017. The lack of information and the nature of the launch preparations, with only marginal references to the payload, point to the secretive nature of the satellite, designated Huoyan-1.

The Long March-3C was developed to fill the gap between the Long March-3A and the Long March-3B, having a payload capacity of 3,800 kg for GTO or 9,100 kg for LEO.

The Xichang Satellite Launch Centre is situated in the Sichuan Province, south-western China and is the country´s launch site for geosynchronous orbital launches. The Command and Control Centre is located seven kilometers south-west of the launch pad, providing flight and safety control during launch rehearsal and launch.

The first launch from Xichang took place on January 29, 1984, when the Chang Zheng-3 (Y-1) was launched.