2 satellites launched in single rocket

Xinhua
China launched two BeiDou-3 satellites into space via a single carrier rocket to support its global navigation and positioning network at 7:45pm yesterday.
Xinhua
Xinhua

A Long March-3B rocket blasts off at Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Two BeiDou-3 satellites were sent into space via the rocket yesterday to support China’s navigation network.

China launched two BeiDou-3 satellites into space via a single carrier rocket to support its global navigation and positioning network at 7:45pm yesterday.

The satellites were on-board a Long March-3B carrier rocket that took off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

This is the first two BeiDou-3 satellites launched by China, as its self-developed BeiDou Navigation Satellite System officially began to expand into a global network.

Named after the Chinese term for the plough or the Big Dipper constellation, the BeiDou project was formally initiated in 1994.

The BeiDou satellite system began to serve China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region at the end of 2012.

China plans to build BeiDou into a global positioning and navigation system by around 2020, making it the third country in the world after the United States and Russia to operate its own navigation system. 

Compared with earlier-generation satellites, the BeiDou-3 is able to send signals that are better compatible with other satellite navigation systems and provide satellite-based augmentation, as well as search and rescue services in accordance with international standards.

“New technology has significantly improved the performance of the BeiDou-3, with the signal accuracy in space higher than half a meter while its positioning accuracy has reached 2.5-5 meters, said Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the BeiDou system.

China plans to launch 18 BeiDou-3 satellites around the end of 2018 to expand the BeiDou services to the countries along the Belt and Road routes.

By around 2020, when the system goes global, it will have more than 30 satellites.


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