BeiDou Current Affairs

China launches two BeiDou-3 navigation satellites into space

China has successfully launched two BeiDou-3 satellites to provide navigation and positioning services to countries along Belt and Road initiative (BRI) by the end of 2018.

The two satellites were designated as BeiDou-3 M7 and BeiDou-3 M8 (26th and 27th satellites) in BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).

Key Facts

These two satellites were launched on board of Long March-3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwestern province of Sichuan. This was first launch of the BeiDou satellites in 2018. China is plannig to send 18 BeiDou-3 satellites into space in 2018.

These two satellites were based on newly-developed dedicated satellite bus and weigh about 1 metric ton each. Both spacecraft had two deployable solar arrays and are designed to be operational for about 12 years. These newly-launched satellites represent third phase of BDS system (BeiDou-3). The first BeiDou-3 satellite was launched in March of 2015

BeiDou

BeiDou is 2nd generation of Chinese homegrown navigational system seen as rival to US’s Global Positioning System (GPS). It was named after Chinese term for plough or Big Dipper constellation.

It comprises constellation of total 35 satellites in two separate satellite constellations viz. limited test system (operational since 2000) and full-scale global navigation system which is currently under construction. The first BeiDou satellite was sent into space in 2000.

It became operational in December 2011, with constellation of 10 satellites providing services in China only. In December 2012, it began offering services to customers in Asia-Pacific region. On its completion in 2020, it will provide services to global customers.

Currently it used for civilian services in field of navigation, messaging, transportation and weather forecasting sectors. It also has military applications.

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China successfully launches 23rd BeiDou Navigation Satellite

China has successfully launched a 23rd BeiDou Navigation Satellite to support its global navigation and positioning network.

The satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province on board of Long March-3C carrier rocket.

It is the 23rd satellite in the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, which is being developed as an alternative to GPS (Global Positioning System) of US.  It was the 229th launch of the Long March carrier rocket.

23rd BeiDou Navigation Satellite after entering its designed work orbit and finishing in-orbit testing, will join others satellite of the system already in orbit. It will help to improve the stability of the BeiDou Navigation system to offer global coverage.

About BeiDou Navigation System (BNS)

  • BNS is 2nd generation of the Chinese navigational system seen as rival to the US’s Global Positioning System (GPS).
  • The system comprises total 35 satellites in two separate satellite constellations (i) Limited test system (operational since 2000) (ii) A full-scale global navigation system which is currently under construction.
  • The BNS became operational in December 2011 in China with the constellation of 10 satellites of the system.
  • In December 2012, the system began offering services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region. On its completion in 2020, the system will provide services to global customers.
  • After completion, the navigaton system would become an equivalent of the US Global Positioning System, Europe’s Galileo and Russia’s Glonass.
  • Applications: (i) Civilian services: Navigation, messaging, transportation and weather forecasting sectors. (ii) Military applications: Ensure privacy for its military communications and missile launches by reducing the dependence on US operated GPS.

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