Spaceflight Now Home





Mission Reports




For 12 years, Spaceflight Now has been providing unrivaled coverage of U.S. space launches. Comprehensive reports and voluminous amounts of video are available in our archives.
Space Shuttle
Atlas | Delta | Pegasus
Minotaur | Taurus | Falcon
Titan



NewsAlert



Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest space news 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.



Advertisement






Space Books






China's Beidou navigation system gets new satellite
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW

Posted: October 25, 2012


China deployed its 16th satellite Thursday for the growing Beidou navigation system, moving the network closer to the inauguration of full service in the Asia-Pacific region, according to state media.


Artist's concept of a Beidou satellite. Credit: China Academy of Space Technology
 
The Beidou satellite launched aboard a Long March 3C rocket at 1533 GMT (11:33 a.m. EDT) from the Xichang space center in southwestern China's Sichuan province, according to the Xinhua new agency.

Liftoff occurred at 11:33 p.m. Beijing time.

Powered by two liquid-fueled strap-on boosters and a first stage engine, the three-stage launcher climbed away from the space base and turned on an easterly heading.

The rocket's cryogenic third stage was supposed to place the Beidou satellite in an elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit, and Chinese officials reported the launch was successful.

The spacecraft will use on-board thrusters to reach an operational position in geostationary orbit over the equator.

China has launched six Beidou satellites in 2012, placing four craft in medium Earth orbit about 13,000 miles high and two geostationary orbit platforms in space, including Thursday's mission.

The Beidou navigation constellation, also known as Compass, is China's counterpart to the U.S. Air Force's GPS program. Russia and Europe are also developing independent space navigation capabilities.

The Beidou system will consist of 35 satellites to provide global navigation coverage by 2020, according to Chinese officials.

China activated the network on a trial basis for government and military users in December 2011, and Xinhua reported the Beidou system will offer free civilian services over the Asia-Pacific region by the first half of 2013.

The system has been used in transportation, weather forecasting, marine fisheries, hydrological monitoring, and mapping, according to Xinhua.

Beidou managers say the constellation will provide positioning services with an accuracy of 10 meters, or about 33 feet, speed estimates within less than one foot per second, and time measurements within 10 nanoseconds.

Thursday's blastoff marked the 15th space launch of the year for China.

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!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

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!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

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

STS-133 Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Anniversary Shuttle Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Mercury anniversary

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!


Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

INDEX | PLUS | NEWS ARCHIVE | LAUNCH SCHEDULE
ASTRONOMY NOW | STORE

ADVERTISE

© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.