Home >> News: November 2nd, 2018 >> Story
Satnews Daily
November 2nd, 2018

China Launches 41st Beidou Navigation Satellite

China launched another BeiDou-3 satellite at 11:57 p.m. on November 1 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center which is located in the southwestern Sichuan province.

Launched via a Long March-3B carrier rocket, this is the 41st of the BeiDou navigation system and will work with 16 other Beidou-3 satellites that are already in orbit. This is also the first BeiDou-3 satellite destined for high orbit, about 36,000 km. above the Earth, in GEO, following the Earth's rotation. The satellite will continuously view the same point on Earth.

BeiDou-3 satellites will be in place by the year-end to serve countries in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, said Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the system. This year has seen intense launch activity with BeiDou satellites. China will launch another two satellites into space by the end of this year, added Yang.

The satellite and rocket for Thursday's launch were developed by the China Academy of Space Technology and the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, respectively. The launch was the 290th mission of the Long March carrier rocket series. In addition to the radio navigation system, this satellite is equipped with an improved radio determination satellite service that can provide short message services each hour to 10 million subscribers. With an advanced satellite-based augmentation system, the satellite can also provide low-cost and reliable navigation services to civil aviation clients at home and abroad.

Pan Yuqian, the chief designer of the BeiDou-3 series, noted that if a navigation signal went wrong, the satellite could inform users within six seconds to switch other signals.

The satellite is carrying hydrogen and rubidium atomic clocks, which will play a key role in positioning and timing accuracy. Atomic clocks are the most accurate time and frequency standards. They use vibrations of atoms to measure time. An accurate and ultra-stable set of atomic clocks is essential for global navigation satellite systems. The clocks are 10 times more stable than those used in previous BeiDou satellites, according to scientists.

Named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper, the BeiDou system started serving China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2012. This Beidou satellite will be the fourth global satellite navigation system following the U.S. GPS system, Russia's GLONASS and the European Union's Galileo. By approximately 2020, when the BeiDou system goes global, the constellation will be comprised of more than 30 satellites.

Article sourced from China.org.cn