Chinese site Xinhuanet.com officially confirmed launching of first Laotian satellite, Laosat-1.
Chinese partner of first Laotian space venture confirmed that Long March 3B was launched at 1607 GMT from the Xichang satellite launch center. Unfortunately more details were available only via U.S. military satellite tracking data: satellite was put into GTO transfer orbit in range between 190-41 km and inclination of 18.4 degrees. Objective position over equator with longitude at 128.5 degrees, satellite will reach using own propulsion. Laosat-1 is basing on DFH-3B bus designed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). It utilizes hexahedral frame and is powered by two deployable solar arrays with output power at 5500 W. Power consumption according to CAST fits in the range 3000-4000 W. Dry mass is at 3800 kg with payload capacity 400-450 kg. Spacecraft is utilizing 3-axis stabilized attitude control. Satellite was launched with Long March 3B. It is heaviest rocket in Long March 3 range and remains in service since 1996. It is three stage rocket, equipped with four liquid fueled boosters. In version B/E has enlarged boosters and bigger first stage in comparison to Long March 3B. Rocket is long for 54.838 m (B/E 56.326 m), with diameter at 3.35 m in both b and B/E. Mass in B version is at 425,800 kg and 458,970 kg for B/E version. B/E is utilized only in GTO missions – for LEO Long March 3B has ability to lift 12000 kg. For GTO orbit payload capacity in B version is 5100 kg and in B/E is 5500 kg. Boosters are powered with one YF-25 engine each with thrust at 740.4 kN (in B/E version burning time is longer and lasts 140 seconds). First stage is powered by four YF-21C with thrust at 2961.6 kN – again only difference between B and B/E is burning time (145 versus 158 seconds). Second stage is identical in B and B/E. It is powered by one central engine YF-24E with thrust at 742 kN and four vernier YF-23C engines with thrust at 47.1 kN. Third stage is equipped with one YF-75 engine with thrust at 167.17 kN.
Whole venture was funded thanks to the loan given to Laos by Export-Import Bank of China. Satellite is owned by Lao Sat-1 Joint Venture Company, with four shareholders: Laotian government with 45%, Asia-Pacific Mobile Telecommunications Satellite Co., Ltd. (APMT) with 35%, Space Star Technology Co. Ltd. (SSTC) with 15%, Asia-Pacific Satellite Technology (APST) with 5%. Chinese partners are holding the majority of shares – 55%. This enables China to secure control of the project and return on investment.