China has successfully launched 22nd new generation satellite into space as part of its domestic BeiDou Navigation System (BDS). It was launched using Long March-3A carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center located in the south-western province of Sichuan. It was the 225th launch of the Long March carrier rocket.
About BeiDou Navigation System (BNS)
- BNS is 2nd generation of the Chinese navigational system seen as rival to the US's Global Positioning System (GPS).
- It is named after the Big Dipper constellation, which is known in Chinese as Beidou.
- BeiDou is Mandarin means magnetic Compass which was one of the Chinese major invention in the history which had revolutionized the sea voyages.
- The system comprises total 35 satellites in two separate satellite constellations (i) Limited test system (operational since 2000) (ii) A full-scale global navigation system which is currently under construction.
- The satellite, after entering its designed work orbit and finishing in-orbit testing, will join others already in orbit and improve the stability of the system, preparing for BDS to offer global coverage.
- The BNS became operational in China in December 2011, with the constellation of 10 satellites. In December 2012, the system began offering services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region and on its completion in 2020 it will provide services to global customers.
- After completion, the project would become an equivalent of the US Global Positioning System, Russia's Glonass, and Europe's Galileo
- Historically, this set of stars was used in navigation to locate the North Star Polaris. As such, the name BeiDou also serves as a metaphor for the purpose of the satellite navigation system.
- Applications: (i) Civilian services: navigation, messaging, transportation and weather forecasting sectors. (ii) Military applications: ensure privacy for its military communications and missile launches by reducing the dependence on US operated GPS.