China Launches Second Navigation Satellite
    2009-04-15 06:47:51      Web Editor: Zhang Jin

China's second Beidou satellite is rocketed into space from the Xichang Space Launch Center in Sichuan Province on Wednesday, April 15, 2009. [Photo: Xinhua]

China successfully launched the second Beidou satellite (COMPASS-G2), the Chinese version of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), into the orbit early Wednesday morning.

Xinhua News Agency reported that the satellite was sent by a Long March 3C carrier at 00:16 a.m. from the Xichang Space Launch Center, in southwestern China's Sichuan Province.

It is the second one of the country's satellite navigation system independent from foreign technology, according to an official with the National Engineering Center of Satellite Navigation.

The system, code named "COMPASS", is a crucial part of the country's space infrastructure for providing navigation and positioning services in transportation, meteorology, petroleum prospecting, forest fire monitoring, disaster forecast, telecommunications and public security among others. It can bring significant social and economic benefits, the official said.

The system can help clients know their location at any time and place with accurate longitude, latitude and altitude data, and will offer "safer" positioning, velocity, timing communications for authorized users.

Previous reports said China planed to complete its independent global satellite navigation system by launching about 30 more orbiters before 2015, with 10 navigation satellites into the space in 2009 and 2010. The current Compass system only provides regional navigation service within China and neighboring regions.

The second "Compass" satellite and its carrier rocket were respectively developed by the China Academy of Space Technology and the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology which are under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

It is the 116th flight for the country's Long March series of rockets.

China launched the first "Compass" navigation satellite into geostationary orbit in April 2007 to build up its own positioning system following the United States' Global Positioning System (GPS), the Galileo Positioning System of Europe and Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS).


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