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China launches two more navigation satellites

China: China successfully launched another two satellites into space for its indigenous global navigation and positioning network, on Wednesday. They were the 14th and 15th satellites for the Beidou, or Compass, system. The satellites, launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China”s Sichuan Province, were boosted by a Long March-3B carrier rocket.

Since it started to provide services on a trial basis on December 27, 2011, the Beidou system has been stable and its services have been increased and improved, said a spokesman for the China Satellite Navigation Office.

The system has been used in transportation, weather forecasting, marine fisheries, forestry, telecommunications, hydrological monitoring and mapping, according to the spokesman.

China started to build up its own satellite navigation system to break its dependence on the US GPS in 2000.

Between October 2000 and May 2003, the country set up a regional satellite navigation system after launching three Beidou geostationary satellites.

Beidou-1 cannot meet growing demand, so China decided to set up a more functional Beidou-2 regional and global navigation system, Qi Faren, former chief designer for Shenzhou spaceships, said in an interview in 2011.

From April 2007 to April this year, China launched another 13 orbiters to form its Beidou-2 system, which will eventually consist of 35 satellites.

Three Beidou satellites were sent into space early this year. The 11th satellite was boosted by a Long March-3C carrier rocket on Feb. 25, while the 12th and 13th were sent by a Long March-3B carrier on April 30.

The network will provide satellite navigation, time and short message services for Asia-Pacific regions within 2012 and global services by 2020.

Source: Xinhuanet