China on Friday successfully launched a high orbit satellite to boost its home-grown BeiDou global satellite navigation system being built to rival United States Global Position System (GPS).
China on Friday successfully launched a high orbit satellite to boost its home-grown BeiDou global satellite navigation system being built to rival United States Global Position System (GPS). The satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the southwestern Sichuan Province, state-run Xinhua reported.
Launched on a Long March-3B carrier rocket, it is the 41st of the BeiDou navigation system, and will work with 16 other Beidou-3 satellites already in orbit, the report said. It is also the first BeiDou-3 satellite in high orbit, about 36,000 km above the Earth. In a geostationary orbit, following the Earth’s rotation, it will view the same point on Earth continuously.
A basic system with BeiDou-3 satellites orbiting will be in place by the year-end to serve countries in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the system was quoted as saying in the report. This year has seen an intensive launch of BeiDou satellites. China will launch another two satellites into space by the end of this year, Yang said.
Apart from radio navigation system, the satellite is equipped with an improved radio determination satellite service that can provide short message services to 10 million subscribers each hour, the report said. “If a navigation signal went wrong, the satellite could inform users within 6 seconds to switch other signals,” Pan Yuqian, chief designer of the BeiDou-3 series, said.
The satellite is carrying hydrogen and rubidium atomic clocks, which will play a key role in positioning and timing accuracy. Named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper, the BeiDou system started serving China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2012. It will be the fourth global satellite navigation system after the US GPS system, Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo.
By around 2020, when the BeiDou system goes global, it will have more than 30 satellites, the report said.