XICHANG, Sichuan - China successfully put a navigation satellite into orbit
early Saturday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's
The carrier rocket, Long March 3-A, blasted off at 0:28 a.m. ( Beijing Time).
The satellite separated from the rocket about 24 minutes later.
Data from the Xi'an satellite monitoring center showed that the satellite had
accurately entered its orbit.
It is China's fourth Beidou (Big Dipper) navigation experimental satellite in
orbit. The previous three were sent in space on Oct. 31, 2000, Dec. 21, 2000 and
May 25, 2003 respectively.
Experts said the Beidou satellite navigation experimental system is operating
well and has played a significant role in cartography, telecommunications, water
conservation, transportation, fishery, prospecting, forest fire monitoring and
The fourth Beidou navigation satellite, serving as a backup satellite for the
Beidou satellite navigation experimental system, may replace the first Beidou
satellite, when necessary, continuing to provide all-weather and all-day
navigation and positioning information.
Experts said China is establishing the Compass Navigation Satellite System on
the basis of the Beidou satellite navigation experimental system. The compass
system will in 2008 fully meet the demand of satellite navigation for clients in
China and neighboring regions.
The Compass Navigation Satellite System will gradually extend to be a global
satellite navigation and positioning system after network building and
experiments, experts said.
The compass system will be mainly used for economic purposes, providing
efficient navigation and positioning services in transportation, meteorology,
petroleum prospecting, forest fire monitoring, disaster forecast,
telecommunications and public security, among others.
China is one of the several countries in the world capable of developing such
a system on its own.
The system can help clients know their location at any time and place with
accurate longitude, latitude and altitude data.
The satellite and carrier rocket were developed respectively by the China
Academy of Space Technology and China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology,
which are under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
The launch represents the 95th flight of China's Long March series of