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China's new satellite to help future deep space navigation
   2016-11-10 15:10:51    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: zhangjin

China's X-ray pulsar navigation satellite [File photo: China News Service]

China has launched a new type of navigation satellite which is expected to lead to the development of autonomous space craft.

The X-ray pulsar navigation satellite will help reduce a spacecraft's reliance on Earth-based navigation methods, by using signals emitted from pulsars to determine the location of a craft in deep space.

According to the China Satellite Navigation Office, the XPNAV-1, developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, was sent into orbit at 7:42 am Thursday morning, on board a Long March 11 solid-fuel rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China.

Weighing just over 200 kilograms, it has two detectors and will sit in Sun-synchronous orbit where it will conduct in-orbit experiments using pulsar detectors to demonstrate new technologies.

During its mission, the satellite will test how the detectors deal with the background noise of the universe, map pulsar signals, and create a database for pulsar navigation, the academy said.

(chinadaily.com.cn contributes to the story.)

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