China sent a new satellite of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) into space from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province at 2:09 a.m. Tuesday.
Launched on a Long March-3B carrier rocket, the satellite was sent to the inclined geosynchronous earth orbit. It is the 46th satellite of the BDS satellite family and the 21st satellite of the BDS-3 system.
The design of the BDS constellation is unique, including medium earth orbit (MEO), geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and inclined geosynchronous earth orbit (IGEO) satellites.
So far, there are already 18 MEO BDS-3 satellites, one GEO BDS-3 satellite, and two IGEO BDS-3 satellites sent into space.
After in-orbit tests, the new satellite will work with those BDS satellites already in orbits to improve the coverage and positioning accuracy of the system.
The new satellite and the carrier rocket were developed by the China Academy of Space Technology and the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
The launch was the 307th mission for the Long March series of carrier rockets.