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New BeiDou satellite starts operation in network

The 45th satellite of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has started operation in the network after completing in-orbit tests, according to the Satellite Navigation System Management Office.

The satellite will provide services in place of the 3rd BeiDou satellite, a geostationary earth orbit satellite of the BDS-2 system. The replacement will help reinforce the BDS-2 system and support a smooth transition from the BDS-2 system to the BDS-3 system. The third satellite will stay in orbit after the replacement, said a source of the office.

The third and the 45th satellite were launched at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Jan. 17, 2010 and May 17, 2019, respectively. Both were developed by the China Academy of Space Technology.

The BDS is China’s independently developed and operated global navigation system. It is named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper constellation.

Chinese scientists started to build the BDS-3 system in 2009. Compared with the BDS-2 system, the technologies of the BDS-3 system have been greatly improved.