BeiDou-3 satellites 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 launches two BeiDou-3 navigation satellites

China successfully launched two BeiDou-3 satellites named BeiDou-3 M1 and BeiDou-3 M2 into space on board of single carrier rocket Long March-3B from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern province of Sichuan.

These two satellites and carrier rocket were developed by China Academy of Space Technology and China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, respectively.

Key Facts

The two newly-launched satellites represent third phase of BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. They will reside in a medium-Earth orbit at an altitude of 21,500 kilometers, inclined 55.5 degrees. These two satellites represent third phase of BDS system (BeiDou-3). It is the final stage of the establishment of a Chinese space-based navigation architecture.

BeiDou Navigation Satellite System

The BeiDou project was formally initiated in 1994. It was named after Chinese term for plough or Big Dipper constellation. It began to serve China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region at the end of 2012. This system will provide services for countries involved in Belt and Road Initiative and form complete global satellite navigation system by 2020 by which time China plans to have more than 30 satellites. It will make China third country in world after the US and Russia to operate its own navigation system.

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