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China to orbit more navigation satellites this year

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BEIJING (BNS): China, which orbited the 17th satellite of the indigenous BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) on Monday, plans to launch three or four more satellites of the series this year.

A complete network will take shape by 2020, Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, was quoted saying by the official PLA Daily newspaper on Wednesday.

The latest satellite launched on Monday is a new-generation spacecraft having a longer life and higher accuracy over its predecessors.

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, Yang said.

The new satellite will be tasked with testing a new type of navigation signalling and inter-satellite links, providing a basis to start building the global network, according to a Xinhua report.

China orbited the first navigation satellite for the BDS in 2000. The BDS began providing positioning, navigation, timing and short message services to civilian users in China and surrounding areas in the Asia-Pacific in December 2012.

The new Sat-Nav system was aimed at reducing dependenc on US' Global Positioning System (GPS), especially for defence related operations.

The BDS global network will eventually consist of 35 satellites, five of which will be in geostationary orbit, the PLA Daily report said.

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