China successfully launches fourth data satellite Tianlian I-04

China has successfully launched its fourth data satellite named Tianlian I-04. The satellite will join its three predecessors to achieve global network operation.
The satellite was launched on board of Long March-3C carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest Sichuan province.
Key Facts

  • Tianlian I-04 has been developed by the China Academy of Space Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
  • The satellite seeks to achieve global network operation that will provide data relay, measurement and control services for its manned spacecraft.
  • The network will also offer data relay services for the country’s medium- and low-Earth orbiting resources satellites, control support and measurement for spacecraft launches.


  • Tianlian I and CTDRS-1 is a Chinese data tracking and relay communications satellite series. Functionally, it is similar to US Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System.
  • China had launched its first data relay satellite the Tianlian I-01, in April 2008.The second and third relay satellite was launched in July 2011 and July 2012 respectively.