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China brings another pair of BeiDou 3 navigation satellites into space



  A file photograph of an earlier Long March 3B launch. Photo credits: Xinhua

A file photograph of an earlier Long March 3B launch. Photo credits: Xinhua

China has successfully launched a long-range 3B missile with two BeiDou-3 satellites for its satellite navigation system. The booster climbed to the sky at 1:56. EDT (17:56 GMT) March 29, 2018 by Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province of China

Powered by its first stage and four liquid rocket boosters, the Long March-3B completed a short vertical climb after launching previously pitching to the southeast, to fly over the island of Hainan towards the South China Sea. Although China keeps the details of its missions top secret, it is believed that the entire flight should have taken several hours, as the rocket was tasked with bringing the payload into a Medium Earth Orbit (MEO).

Target for March 12, but was postponed by 2.5 weeks. However, Beijing has not disclosed why the flight was postponed.

The mission's two passengers, the BeiDou-3 M5 and the BeiDou-3 M6, are based on a newly developed dedicated satellite bus. Each has a mass of about a ton, and both satellites have two deployable solar arrays and have been put into operation for about twelve years. Upon deployment, the duo will offer MEO services at a height of approximately 13,500 miles (21,500 kilometers) with a grade of approximately 55.5 degrees.

The project BeiDou ( BDS ), named after the Chinese term for the plow or constellation Big Dipper, was formally launched in 1994. The first BeiDou satellite was soaring in 2000 and by 2012 a regional network was already taking shape, providing positioning, navigation, timing and short message services in China and several other Asian countries

BeiDou-3 M5 and Dou-3 M6 represent the third phase of the BDS system and represent the final stage in the establishment of a Chinese space-based navigation architecture. The constellation was to consist of 27 BeiDou 3M satellites in MEO, five BeiDou 3G satellites in a geostationary orbit and three BeiDou 3I satellites in a tilted geosynchronous satellite orbit. The first BeiDou 3 satellite was launched in March 2015.

BeiDou as a constellation is designed to assist countries under the Belt and Road Initiative (more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe, Oceania and East Africa) by the end of 2018.

"The BeiDou system does not only belong to China, but said Yang Changfeng chief designer of the BeiDou system, in a Xinhuanet report [19659007] The three-stage rocket Long March-3B, which was used for this flight, is a 55 meter high launcher, the Up to twelve tons of payload can be transported into the near-earth orbit or five tons of freight in a geostationary transfer orbit. For some launches, such as these, this rocket can be equipped with an upper level Yuanzheng-1.

This was the ninth start in China in 2018 and the third Long March-3B. The next missile flight from the Asian country is expected to take place on April 21, when he beats another Long March-3B with the communications satellite Apstar 6C. However, it is known that China is carrying out many of its missions unannounced.

The launch of three BeiDou satellites in February 2018. Video courtesy of SciNews

Tagged: Beidou-3 China National Space Agency Editorial Long March 3B Xichang Satellite Launch Center

Tomasz Nowakowski

Tomasz Nowakowski is the owner of Astro Watch, one of the leading astronomy and science blogs on the Internet. Nowakowski has contacted SpaceFlight Insider to collaborate on the two space related websites. Nowakowski's generous offer was greeted with thanks. The two organizations are now working to better communicate important developments in space exploration.


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