China launched two new navigational satellites into space as part of its domestic navigation system BeiDou (meaning Compass).
The 18th and 19th satellites (of total constellation of 35 satellites) were successfully launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan province.
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).
- 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.
- Became operational in China in December 2011, with the constellation of 10 satellites. In December 2012, it began offering services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region and on its completion in 2020, it will provide services to global customers.
- Applications: Currently it used for civilian services in field of navigation, messaging, transportation and weather forecasting sectors. It also has military applications.