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China launches 8th navigation satellite

Beijing, China: China launched its eighth navigation satellite of the Beidou system. It marks the establishment of a basic system for the navigation and positioning network. A Long March-3A carrier rocket carrying the “Beidou,” or Compass, navigation satellite took off from the Xichang satellite launch centre in southwest Sichuan province, China Daily reported.

The Beidou project started in 2000, when the first two Beidou satellites were launched into geostationary orbit. Guo Shuren, Deputy Director of Office for China Satellite Navigation Management said, “The first two satellites are for testing only. The current navigation and positioning service will mainly be provided by the other six satellites.”

Sun Jiadong, Chief Designer of Beidou Navigation Satellite System said “The main feature of Beidou is that it can deliver messages. In other words, if I pick up a cell phone and communicate with Beidou, it can give me my position.”

To complete a regional network to provide navigation services with high precision and credibility, China will launch more satellites within the coming two years. The network is scheduled to provide global services by 2020.

Source: GPS Daily