The communications satellite, Chinasat 12 has been launched from a Long March 3B/E launch vehicle flying out of the Xichang launch site at 1013 GMT on 27 November 2012. The spacecraft was formerly known as Apstar 7B as it was originally ordered from Thales Alenia Space as a back up for Apstar 7 before it was launched. However, in September, before its launch, China Satcom bought the satellite order from APT Satellite Co as APT did not need it given Apstar 7’s successful launch into orbit.
The spacecraft uses a SpaceBus 4000C2 bus and is designed to have an operational life of 12 years. The communcations paylaod carried has 24 C-band, and 23 Ku-band transponders aboard.