APStar 6E [APT]
APStar-6E is a Chinese high throughput (HTP) communications satellite ordered by APT Satellite.
APT Satellite signed in November 2020 a contract with China Great Wall Industry Corp. (CGWIC) of Beijing for the construction and launch of the APStar-6E satellite.
APStar 6E will be built on CAST's DFH-3E platform with a launch mass of only ~1800 kg. The satellite has a 15 year life time. It features an electric propuslion system.
The launch was unusual in that it used the CZ-2C (3) rocket to launch the 1800 kg satellite. To accomplish this satellite was outfitted with a detachable propulsion module known as the SPS, which was designed to propel the spacecraft into an initial partial transfer orbit. The satellite's electric propulsion system was supposed to take over from here in order to raise and circularize its orbit into a geostationary Earth orbit over 134° East, where it will operate. The orbital raising was supposed to take ten months.
APStar 6E was launched in January 2023 on a Chinese CZ-2C (3) booster with an additional propulstion module called SPS. But due to a series of valve faults involving the pressurisation system, the SPS main engine can not be used for orbital raising. While the valve problems have been resolved, it appears that another issue has prevented the SPS main engine from starting. The APSTAR 6E satellite is thought to have 10N conventional thrusters that will now be used instead of the main engine to achieve the initial orbital raise. This will be followed by an electric thruster system raising and circularisation operation, which will also be used for operational stabilisation once on station. No significant loss of life is anticipated, but the orbital raising will take several weeks longer than planned.
|Type / Application:
|APT Satellite Company Ltd.
|High throughput communications payload
|2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
|1800 kg (satellite); (SPS)
|CZ-2C (3) [SPS]