China launches another GPS satellite

July 27, 2011 at 1:44 PM
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BEIJING, July 27 (UPI) -- China says it successfully launched another satellite for its indigenous global navigation and positioning network system Wednesday.

The satellite was placed into a geostationary orbit by a Long March-3A rocket after a Wednesday launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan Province, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

China began its own satellite navigation system, known as the Beidou or Compass system, in 2000 to cut its dependence on the U.S. Global Positioning System, Xinhua said.

Three Beidou geostationary satellites were launched between 2000 and 2003.

The three orbiters making up the Beidou-1 system could not meet growing demand, so a Beidou-2 regional and global navigation system is being set up, officials said.

Since 2007 China has launched eight orbiters to form its Beidou-2 network, which will eventually consist of 35 satellites.

The system will provide satellite navigation for Asia-Pacific regions by 2012 and global services by 2020, Xinhua reported.

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