Compass Due Next Year


Friday 01 May 2009

Xinhua reports that a new Chinese navigation satellite, launched a week ago, has been functioning normally since it was put into its working orbit on Monday (27 April).

The Xi'an satellite control centre reported that it had commanded a fourth position adjustment of the satellite and data showed that it is now correctly positioned.

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The onboard equipment is functioning properly, said the report.

The satellite is part of the Compass system. Xinhua quotes Cao Chong, the chief engineer of the China Electronics Technology Group Corp, as saying that Compass would cover all of China and its adjacent regions by the end of 2010 or early 2011, and expand into a global network by 2020.

If China makes this schedule, it will beat the European Galileo system into orbit, although Galileo will move immediately to global coverage by 2012-13.

He said China would launch another 10 satellites in the next two years – enough to cover the Chinese mainland.

China launched the first satellite in its Compass system in April 2007. That was in the geostationary system. Before then it had successfully put four experimental navigation satellites into orbit, forming the Beidou system, which can provide positioning accuracy within 20 metres.

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