Sun, May 22, 2011 - Page 2 News List

ST-2 commercial communications satellite launched

Staff Writer, with CNA, KOUROU, FRENCH GUIANA

A handout photo released by the French space agency CNES yesterday shows the lift off of an Ariane 5 rocket carrying two satellites from its launch pad in Kourou, French Guiana, on 20 May 2011. Heavy-load launcher Ariane 5, carried two communication satellites GSAT-8 and ST-2 from Europe` s spaceport in French Guiana.

Photo:EPA

Taiwan’s second commercial communications satellite, the ST-2, was successfully launched from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana on Friday.

The satellite is jointly owned and operated by Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan’s largest telecom operator, and Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel). It will replace the ST-1 satellite that was launched by the two companies in 1998, which will reach the end of its planned life span this year.

According to Chunghwa Telecom, the ST-2 has a better transmitting power than the ST-1 and is designed to remain in service for 15 years. It will offer customers wider coverage in Asia and the Middle East when it reaches its orbit slot within the next 10 days, Chunghwa Telecom said.

The launch of the ST-2 has officially propelled Taiwan’s satellite communications industry from the age of analog signals into a new era of high-definition digital signals, Chunghwa Telecom said.

In addition to voice, data and video services, the ST-2 will provide innovative Internet Protocol (IP)-based solutions, such as Voice over IP and enterprise resource management, the company said.

“The expanded capacity and coverage of the ST-2, combined with the existing multi-route wide-band submarine cables owned and operated by Chunghwa Telecom, will further consolidate the company’s position in the international communications market,” Chunghwa Telecom executive vice president Leng Tai-fen (冷台芬) said.

The ST-2 was built by Japanese firm Mitsubishi Electric. Chunghwa Telecom holds a 38 percent share and SingTel 62 percent in the US$350 million joint venture.

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