Saturday, December 03, 2011

China adds link to GPS alternative system

China’s quest for an independent satellite navigation system moved another step closer to reality with the successful launch into geosynchronous orbit on Friday morning of a Beidou, or Compass satellite. That satellite completed the basic structure of the indigenous Beidou network and also set a record for annual Chinese space launches.
Launching from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province aboard a Long March-3A rocket, it was the tenth satellite in the network which is intended to break China’s dependence on the worldwide GPS system. The Beidou system is expected to be completed by 2020, Chinese space officials said.
Dec. 2, 2011. China successfully launched into space the tenth orbiter for its independent satellite navigation and positioning network known as Beidou, or Compass System here early Friday. It was also the 153rd launch of the Long March carrier rockets.
According to China’s Xinhua News Agency:
The basic structure of the Beidou system has now been established, and engineers are now conducting comprehensive system test and evaluation. The system will provide test-run services of positioning, navigation and time for China and the neighboring areas before the end of this year, according to the authorities.
More satellites will be launched before the end of 2012 for the Beidou network, and its coverage area will be expanded with upgraded services. The global satellite positioning and navigation system will be completed in 2020 with 30 satellites orbiting the earth. Started in 2000, the Beidou satellite navigation system is designed to break China's dependence on the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS).

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