Spaceflight Now

Page not found | Spaceflight Now
Breaking News

Page not found (404)

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.


Popular Articles

Random Articles


Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest news in astronomy and space e-mailed direct to your desktop.

Enter your e-mail address:

Privacy note: your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose.

China deploys another navigation satellite to orbit

Posted: November 1, 2010

Bookmark and Share

China launched its sixth Beidou navigation satellite Sunday, reaching another step in a program to provide precise positioning services across the Asia-Pacific region by 2012.

The sixth operational Beidou navigation satellite launched on a Long March 3C rocket. Credit: China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology
The satellite lifted off on a Long March 3C rocket at 1626 GMT (12:26 p.m. EDT) Sunday. It was just after midnight at the Xichang launch base in southwestern China's Sichuan province.

The three-stage rocket, standing 180 feet tall at liftoff, placed the Beidou payload on course toward geosynchronous orbit, according to the Chinese government.

According to tracking data, the spacecraft is in a preliminary orbit stretching from a low point of 115 miles to a high point of about 22,260 miles. Its inclination angle is 20.5 degrees.

The Beidou, or Compass, satellite will fire its own engine to reach a circular orbit 22,300 miles above the equator. It is the sixth satellite launched in the first phase of the system's operational fleet.

The craft launched Sunday is the fourth platform designed for geosynchronous orbit over the equator. One satellite is in a medium-altitude orbit more than 13,000 miles high, and another spacecraft was injected in an inclined orbit to cover Earth's polar regions.

Four Beidou satellites have been sent into space so far this year.

China plans one more Beidou launch in December, when another satellite will be sent to cover high latitude and polar users.

Artist's concept of Beidou navigation satellites. Credit: China Academy of Space Technology
The Beidou network will provide Chinese military and citizens an indigenous source of precise navigation information. The country currently relies on the U.S. Air Force's Global Positioning System.

Experimental Beidou satellites began launching in 2000, and Chinese officials hope the system can provide full navigation and timing coverage of China and neighboring countries by 2012.

China will eventually launch 35 satellites to expand the system to global coverage by 2020. Most of the operational Beidou satellites will circle 13,000 miles above Earth. Five spacecraft will eventually support the system from geosynchronous orbit.

The constellation is China's counterpart to the U.S. GPS system, Russia's Glonass navigation satellites and the Galileo network being developed by Europe.

China says Beidou services will be available at no charge to civilians with positioning accuracy of about 10 meters, or 33 feet. More precise navigation data will be given to Chinese government and military users.

Final Shuttle Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!

STS-134 Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!

Ares 1-X Patch
The official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.

Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.

Project Orion
The Orion crew exploration vehicle is NASA's first new human spacecraft developed since the space shuttle a quarter-century earlier. The capsule is one of the key elements of returning astronauts to the Moon.

Fallen Heroes Patch Collection
The official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store.



© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.