China launched a new-generation satellite into space for its indigenous global navigation and positioning network at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan. (Photo/Xinhua)
China plans to launch three or four more satellites for its indigenous global navigation and positioning network this year, the network's chief designer said.
A complete network will take shape by 2020, Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), was quoted saying by the PLA Daily on Wednesday.
The 17th satellite in the BDS global network was launched on Monday, marking the first step to expand it from a regional to global service.
The BDS global network will be made up of 35 satellites, five of which will be in geostationary orbit.
Compared with the satellites already in operation, the latest has longer life and higher accuracy, Yang said.
Its service life is around ten to 12 years compared with eight years of the old model, and the maximum accuracy is two to three meters, he said.
China launched the first BDS satellite in 2000. In December 2012, it began providing positioning, navigation, timing and short message services to civilian users in China and parts of the Asia-Pacific.
The system has been gradually introduced into transportation, weather forecasts, marine fishing, forestry and telecommunications.
The new satellite was developed by the Shanghai Engineering Center for Microsatellites, a non-profit organization established by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shanghai Municipal Government.