China launched its final satellite into the Beidou constellation on Tuesday, which emulates the United States GPS (Global Positioning System), thus marking a step further in the nation’s advance to a chief space power.
The satellite launch onboard the Long March-3 missile was broadcasted live directly from Xichang’s launch base briefly before 10am. Around 30mins later, the satellite deployed in the orbit and spread the solar panels to receive energy from the sunrays.
The initial launch of the satellite for the previous week was canned after checks showed unspecified technical glitches.
The 3rd iteration of Beidou Navigation Satellite System would offer worldwide coverage for navigation and timing.
The 55th satellite launch in Beidou family reveals China’s attempt to offer worldwide coverage was completely successful, said Yang Changfeng, the chief of the system.
China’s space mission has rapidly developed in the last 20 years as the nation’s government devotes key resources towards the development of advanced technologies.
The first Beidou version, meaning the ‘Big Dipper,’ had been decommissioned back in 2012. The future plans seek smarter, more integrated and accessible system with Beidou at the core, and are expected to go on floor by the year 2035.
Notably, China became the 3rd nation to launch a space mission independently with crew-onboard back in 2003. Since then, the nation has developed an experimental space observatory and sent a few rovers to Moon’s surface.