China launches orbiter for global navigation system

January 17th, 2010 - 12:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Jan 17 (IANS) China Sunday launched an orbiter into space for its satellite navigation and positioning network.
It was the third orbiter that China has launched for its independent satellite navigation and positioning network, also known as Beidou or Compass system.

Xinhua news agency reported that the new satellite was launched from the Xichang satellite launch centre in southwestern Sichuan province by a Long-March-III carrier rocket.

It joins the other two orbiters to form a network which will eventually have a total of 35 satellites, capable of providing global navigation service to users around the world by around 2020.

According to plan, the Beidou system will provide navigation, time signal and short message services in Asian and Pacific region around 2012.

China started to build up its own satellite navigation system to break its dependence on the US GPS system in 2000 when it sent two orbiters as a double-satellite experimental positioning system, known as the Beidou system.

The Beidou system, China’s first-generation satellite navigation and positioning network, made the country the third in the world after the US and Russia to have an independent satellite navigation system.

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