China launched a Long March 3B carrier rocket to carry a satellite into space to integrate the Beidou satellite navigation system on May 17, 2023. [Foto: Zhu Lei/ chinadaily.com.cn]
Written by Zhao Lee
China launched a Long March 3B carrier rocket on Wednesday to carry a satellite into space to be integrated into the BeiDou satellite navigation system. This new step marks the first deployment of the Beidou satellite in three years.
As the countdown to zero begins at 10:49 a.m. at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan Province, Long March 3B’s eight first-stage engines and four boosters appeared and unleashed a brilliant orange flame as they lifted the rover 20 stories high into the clear sky.
Deng Hongqin, director of the Xichang Center, explained that after take-off, the rocket put the 60th satellite of the Beidou system and the first third-generation Beidou network backup spacecraft into geostationary orbit.
Designed and built by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology, the satellite has typical functions of a third-generation Beidou satellite: positioning, navigation and synchronization.
“Compared with the previous Beidou satellites, it has upgraded hardware and features stronger signal, faster transmission speed, and higher operational stability,” said Chen Chonggui, chief designer of the third-generation Beidou satellites.
Although defined as a backup, the satellite is designed to begin operating as soon as it enters orbit. Its main tasks are to expand the service areas of Beidou’s SMS function, improve positioning accuracy, and ensure continuity of operation and network reliability.
“The new satellite will help increase the short message service capacity of Beidou network for countries and regions participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. Its operation will also allow Beidou users to access positioning service quickly and with high accuracy,” said Wang Dong. , Deputy Director of 3G Beidou Network Project.
“Before the end of this year, two spare BeiDou satellites are scheduled to be launched to enhance network reliability,” she added.
Currently BeiDou is China’s largest civilian satellite system and one of the four global navigation networks, along with the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS), Russia’s GLONASS, and the European Union’s Galileo.
Since 2000, a total of 60 Beidou satellites, including the first four test satellites, have been lifted from Xichang on 45 Long March 3 series rockets.
In June 2020, the last satellite to complete the third generation Beidou network was lifted by a Long March 3B rocket. The following month, President Xi Jinping announced that the system was complete and had begun to provide large-scale global services.
Currently, there are 46 satellites in active service, including the most recent one.
According to the latest statistics from the China Global Association of Satellite Navigation Systems and Location-based Services, by the end of 2021, the total value of satellite navigation and positioning services in China will reach 469 thousand billion yuan (67 billion US dollars). ), an increase of 16.3 percent year-on-year.
China plans to build the next generation Beidou system by 2035. The new version will be “widespread, smarter, and more integrated”, and when completed, there will be Beidou service not only on land and sea, but also in the sky, outer space, and in the ocean depths. From China satellite navigation.
(Web Editor: Rosa Liu, Zhao Jian)