China launches new BeiDou navigation satellite
China on Wednesday sent a new BeiDou navigation satellite into space from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
The satellite was launched at 10:49 am (Beijing Time) by a Long March-3B carrier rocket. It will be connected to the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) after it enters orbit and completes in-orbit tests.
The satellite, designed to enter geostationary earth orbit, is the 56th of the BeiDou family and also the first backup satellite for the country's BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System (BDS-3).
The satellite will expand the communication capacity of the system's regional short-messaging function, enhance positioning accuracy and promote the network's availability and stability.
The satellite was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, while the carrier rocket was developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, both of which are subsidiaries of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
The mission marked the 473rd flight of the Long March carrier rockets.
The BDS was initiated in 1994. The construction of BDS-1 and BDS-2 was completed in 2000 and 2012, respectively. When BDS-3 was completed and put into service on July 31, 2020, China became the third country to have an independent global navigation satellite system.