APSTAR-6E Communications Satellite, the first Chinese all-electric propulsion communications satellite, was launched at 02:10 am on January 13th, 2023 (Beijing time) by the LM-2C launch vehicle from Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) at Sichuan Province of China. The satellite entered into the predetermined orbit successfully.

APSTAR-6E is the 13th communications satellite conducted by China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science & Technology Corporation (CASC). The procurement contract of in-orbit delivery for the APSTAR-6E Communications Satellite was signed and performed by CGWIC and the APSTAR Alliance Satcom Limited (APAS).

The APSTAR-6E satellite is designed and developed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), based on its Dong Fang Hong(DFH)-3E platform. The satellite contains twenty-five (25) Ku-band user beams and three (3) Ka-band gateway beams on board with a 30Gbps payload capacity. The satellite has a designed lifetime of 15 years and will be positioned at 134°E (co-located with APSTAR-6C and APSTAR-6D). The lift-off mass of the satellite/separable propulsion system (SPS) is 4,300kg, for the satellite being 2,090kg and the SPS 2,210kg. Focusing on the customized payload market in South East Asia, the APSTAR-6E satellite will provide cost effective high throughput communication services.


APSTAR-6E satellite is the new generation of all-electric propulsion commercial satellites in DFH series, and also the first Chinese satellite to achieve autonomous orbit transfer. The successful launch of the APSTAR-6E satellite marks a step into a new era of high-capacity and low-cost satellite platforms, and improves competitiveness in the international marker. Meanwhile, the satellite will achieve autonomous orbit raising and autonomous in-orbit operation, enhancing the autonomous capability of DFH satellites.

The LM-2C launch vehicle is developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), a subsidiary of CASC. As the foundation of liquid launch vehicle in China, the LM-2C launch vehicle inherits the mature launch technology verified by Long March series launch vehicles. The LM-2C launch vehicle selected for this mission is a basic two-stage type, with the 4200C fairing and a lift-off mass of 244t. Both the Satellite and the SPS will be injected into a transfer orbit, defined by apogee of 500km, perigee of 200km, and inclination of 28.5°, by the launch vehicle. The satellite will eventually reach the geostationary orbit by its SPS and its electric propulsion system of Hall thrusters and Ion thrusters. This launch mission is the 66th flight of the LM-2C launch vehicle and the 460th flight of the Long March family.

APAS is a satellite operation company based in Hong Kong, co-founded by CAST, the APT Satellite Company Limited (APT), CGWIC and CALT, all subsidiaries of CASC. The APSTAR-6E satellite is the first communication satellite program of APAS. As the first satellite based on the DFH-3E platform, as well as the first Chinese all-electric propulsion GEO communication satellite, the APSTAR-6E satellite will join the APSTAR FLEET. Targeting the Southeast Asia, the APSTAR-6E satellite will offer high throughout (HTS) service to the potential customers.

CGWIC, the whole-owned subsidiary of CASC, is a commercial agency authorized by the Chinese government to operate commercial launches, satellites system and technology cooperation. It is a system integrator for China aerospace products and services. It can offer complete the satellite in-orbit delivery and the construction of satellite ground systems for international and domestic customers, with all-round and one-stop service to meet the diversified demands of the customers. CGWIC has conducted 13 in-orbit delivery communications satellite programs to its international customers by far, and has delivered its communications satellite system to multiple countries and regions including Nigeria, Venezuela, Pakistan, Bolivia, Laos, Belarus and Algeria.