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China launches ninth navigation satellite

China: China launched ninth navigation satellite as part of its global navigation satellite system (GNSS), Beidou or Compass. China will form its GNSS network with 35 navigation satellites to reduce dependency on GPS. The network will provide services for Asia-Pacific regions by 2012 and global services by 2020. 
China started to build up its own satellite navigation system since 2000. Between October 2000 and May 2003, China had set up a regional satellite navigation system after launching three Beidou, or Compass system, geostationary satellites.
The system was known as Beidou-1 and is said to have played an important role in the rescue efforts following the devastating earthquake in May 2008 in Wenchuan as it provided the only channel connecting the quake-hit area and the outside. “The Beidou-1 system can not meet growing demand, so a better functional Beidou-2 regional and global navigation system will be set up,” Qi Faren, former chief designer for Shenzhou spaceships, said in an interview with Xinhua early this year.
From April 2007 to April this year, China launched another eight satellites to form its Beidou-2 system.
Source: Xinhua