Thursday, April 16, 2009

Beidou II, China satellite, launched

Beidou II (COMPASS-G2), China's second geostationary navigation satellite, was launched on April 15th from the Xichang satellite Launch Center, in Sichuan Province, via a CZ-3C Chang Zheng-3C (CZ3C-2) launch vehicle. The launch is the first in a series of launches announced by China to form the complete Compass constellation. This constellation of satellites will consist of approximately 30 vehicles, including 27 MEO satellites, with nine satellites for each orbit plane - and four GSO satellites (58.75 degrees E, 80 degrees E, 110.5 degrees E, and 140 degrees E). The BeiDou-2 was developed from the DFH-3 satellite platform and has a lifespan of 8 years.

The Compass Navigation Satellite System (CNSS) is China’s second-generation satellite navigation system capable of providing continuous, real-time passive 3D geo-spatial positioning and speed measurement.

The first phase of the project will deal with coverage for the Chinese territory. However, a future Compass constellation will cover the entire globe.


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