China successfully launches 20th Satellite for BeiDou Navigation System
China has successfully launched 20th new generation satellite into space as part of its domestic BeiDou Navigation System (BDS).
It was launched using Long March-3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the south-western province of Sichuan.
The 20th new generation satellite has been incorporated with a Hydrogen Atomic Clock which provides most accurate time and frequency standards known compared to primary standards for international time distribution services.
About BeiDou Satellite Navigation System
- BeiDou is 2nd generation of the Chinese navigational system seen as rival to the US’s Global Positioning System (GPS).
- It should be noted the BeiDou is Mandarin means magnetic Compass which was one of the Chinese major invention in the history which had revolutionized the sea voyages.
- The system comprises constellation of total 35 satellites in two separate satellite constellations viz. limited test system (operational since 2000) and a full-scale global navigation system which is currently under construction.
- The BDS became operational in China in December 2011, with the constellation of 10 satellites.
- In December 2012, the system began offering services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region and on its completion in 2020 it will provide services to global customers.
- Applications: It will be used for civilian services in field of navigation, messaging, transportation and weather forecasting sectors.
- It also has military applications as it will ensure privacy for its military communications and missile launches by reducing the dependence on US operated GPS.