China successfully launched another navigation satellite on Tuesday via the Long March-3B launch vehicle with the flight of BeiDou-3I3 (IGSO-3) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province.
With a takeoff weight of 5,400 kilograms and a 12-year lifespan, BeiDou-313 is the last inclined geosynchronous orbits (IGSO) satellite required to complement the third phase BeiDou Satellite Navigation System (BDS). It was designed to be sent into the IGSO where the satellites travel in the shape of figure "8."
The BDS-3 constellation featured 18 satellites on a medium earth orbit (MEO), a geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and an inclined geosynchronous earth orbit (IGEO).
China started to develop its satellite navigation system since the last century. The BDS-1 system was completed by the end of 2000, designed to offer services domestically. The update-version BDS-2, which expanded the service range to Asia-Pacific regions, was finished by 2012. To compete with the U.S. GPS, Russian GLONASS and European Galileo systems, China initiated the third stage plan – BDS-3 targeting the global users.
According to the China Satellite Navigation Office (CSNO), by 2035, a more ubiquitous, integrated and smarter positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) system with BDS as the core will be put in place by 2035.
According to Shen Jun, the deputy director of the International Cooperation Center, China Satellite Navigation Office, the completion of the BDS system means that Chinese people can enjoy a global navigation system that is independently developed and operated by China. People can use BDS alone to receive high-quality services anywhere and anytime in the world.
"For international users, BDS offers not only another option when choosing a GNSS provider but also a candidate to combine with other GNSS to provide enhanced services. Thus, the experiences and achievements of the BDS development can be beneficial for people worldwide," he said.