Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

China launches navigation spacecraft

Posted: November 1, 2000

A Chinese Long March 3A rocket successfully placed a navigation satellite into orbit early Tuesday, according to the Xinhua News Agency of China.

The reporting agency said the launch took place from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Sichuan Province in southwestern China. The Long March's launch pad is located in a deep valley at the Chinese spaceport.

Perched atop the three-stage Long March 3A rocket was the Beidou 1 navigation satellite. The satellite is the first in a new series of similar spacecraft. Primary mission objectives of Beidou 1 include providing constant navigation coverage for highways, railroads, and shipping lanes throughout China, Xinhua said.

The new satellite was built wholly within China and this launch comes less than a month after a new plan for the future Chinese economy was approved, Xinhua reported. That plan included provisions for boosting the country's high technology divisions.