China launched 20th satellite for its BeiDou Navigation System

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Who: China
What: Launched 20th satellite for its BeiDou Navigation System
When: 30 September 2015

China on 30 September 2015 launched a 20th new generation satellite into orbit that will support its global navigation and positioning network.

The satellite was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the south-western province of Sichuan. A Long March-3B carrier rocket carried the satellite.

The launch of the 20th satellite for the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has put China one step closer to providing an alternative to the U.S. operated Global Positioning System (GPS).

Besides, it was the first time that the satellite featured a hydrogen atomic clock. Also, multiple tests related to the clock will be done.

What is BeiDou Navigation Satellite System?

The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System is a Chinese satellite navigation system. The BeiDou project was formally launched in 1994.

The first BeiDou system, which was officially called the BeiDou Satellite Navigation Experimental System, was also known as BeiDou-1. The system incorporates three satellites and offers limited coverage and applications. It has been offering navigation services since 2000 for customers in China and neighbouring regions.

Named after the Big Dipper constellation, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System serves as a metaphor for the purpose of the satellite navigation system.

Global Navigation Satellite Systems

•    India: Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)

•    United States: Global Positioning System (GPS)

•    Russia: GLONASS

•    France: Doppler Orbitography and Radio-positioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS)

•    Japan: Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS)