China launches 9th Beidou-2 satellite

Yesterday 26th July, China has launched the ninth satellite of its Beidou-2 national orbital navigation system from the Sichuan Province’s spaceport. Efforts to create an alternative to America’s GPS and Russia’s GLONASS constellations began in 2007.

The new system will include a total of 35 satellites providing navigation services across the Asia-Pacific Region from 2012 and then switching to global coverage in 2020.

China’s first-generation Beidou-1 constellation, made up of three satellites launched in the period from 2000 to 2003, is only functioning over its territory and in the nearby areas.

This constellation of satellites – developed in the basis of the DFH-3 satellite platform and have a lifespan of eight years – will consist of 35 vehicles, including 27 MEO satellites, 5 GSO satellites and 3 IGSO. The satellites will transmit signals on the: 1195.14-1219.14MHz, 1256.52-1280.52MHz, 1559.05-1563.15MHz and 1587.69-1591.79MHz, carrier frequencies.

The Compass Navigation Satellite System (CNSS) is China’s second-generation satellite navigation system capable of providing continuous, real-time passive 3D geo-spatial positioning and speed measurement.

The system will initially used to provide high-accuracy positioning services for users in China and its neighboring regions, covering an area of about 120 degrees longitude in the Northern Hemisphere. The long-term goal is to develop a global navigation satellite network similar to the US GPS and Russian GLONASS systems.

Like the American and Russian counterparts, CNSS will have to kinds of services: a civilian service that will give an accuracy of 10 meters in the user position, 0.2 m/s on the user velocity and 50 nanoseconds in time accuracy; and the military and authorized user’s service, providing higher accuracies.

The first phase of the project will be focused on the coverage of the Chinese territory, but in the future the Compass constellation will cover the entire globe.

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