Home > NEWS
China Launches Key Satellite in Beidou Navigation
SOURCE: China Space News     UPDATED: 2016-02-03

BEIJING, Feb. 2 (China Space News) — China put a new-generation satellite into orbit to support its global navigation and positioning network at 3:29 p.m. Monday.

Launched from Xichang satellite launch center in the southwestern province of Sichuan, the satellite was aboard a Long March-3C carrier rocket. It is the 21st satellite in the Beidou Navigation Satellite System.

The first 16 Beidou satellites formed a network that only covered China and nearby regions. The first new-generation satellite in the series, or the 17th in total, was launched in March last year to help the network transition from regional to global coverage.

Once in orbit, Monday's satellite, the fifth of the new generation, will join its four predecessors in testing inter-satellite crosslinks and a new navigation-signalling system that will set the framework and technical standards for global coverage.

Named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper constellation, the Beidou project began in 1994.

The first Beidou satellite was not launched until 2000, but by 2012, a regional network had taken shape, providing positioning, navigation, timing and short message services for China and several other Asian countries.