China has successfully launched 23rd satellite to support its global navigation and positioning network which is being developed to rival the US Global Positioning System. The 23rd satellite in the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. The satellite was put into orbit by a Long March-3C carrier rocket. It was the 229th launch of the Long March carrier rocket. The BDS satellite system is being developed as an alternative to America’s Global Positioning System (GPS).
The satellite, after entering its designed work orbit and finishing in-orbit testing, will join 22 others already in orbit and improve the stability of the system, preparing for BDS to offer global coverage.
Did You Know?
- The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System is a Chinese satellite navigation system.
- It consists of two separate satellite constellations – a limited test system that has been operating since 2000, and a full-scale global navigation system that is currently under construction.
- The first BeiDou system, officially called the BeiDou Satellite Navigation Experimental System and also known as BeiDou-1, consists of three satellites and offers limited coverage and applications.
- It has been offering navigation services, mainly for customers in China and neighboring regions, since 2000.
- The second generation of the system, officially called the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and also known as COMPASS or BeiDou-2, will be a global satellite navigation system consisting of 35 satellites, and is under construction as of January 2015.