China launches last BDS satellite to conclude global navigation constellation
On Tuesday, China launched the last BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) rocket, which marks the completion of its own global navigation network, reported a local media source, Xinhua.
The satellite, the 55th in the family of BeiDou that means “Big Dipper” in Chinese, was launched at 9:43 a.m. (Beijing Time) and sent into the preset orbit by a Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
The mission, the 336th rocket series of the Long March, was a “complete success,” said the launch center.
The satellite, designated to enter the geostationary earth orbit (GEO), was the last of the BDS-3 system, which in December 2018 began offering countries and regions along the Belt and Road as well as the world ‘s basic navigation services.
BDS is one of the world’s 4 major satellite navigation systems. The other three global navigation systems are US GPS, European Union Galileo, and Russia’s GLONASS.
China has been actively encouraging cooperation and exchanges between the BDS system and other navigation systems in areas such as construction and application, enhancing compatibility and interoperability, sharing resources, and providing more qualified, diversified, secure, and reliable services for users.
The BDS constellation is unique in design compared to other global systems in the world, including medium earth orbit (MEO), inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO), and GEO satellites.
“BDS provides time-and-space location benchmarks, which will have a great influence on the country’s social and economic development, as well as people’s lives,” said Chen Zhonggui, chief designer of the BDS-3 satellites at CAST.
“It will also lay the foundation for new infrastructure construction, an important direction for China’s development in the next stage,” Chen told Xinhua news agency.