China launches the 56th BeiDou navigation satellite
Updated 23:11, 17-May-2023

The 56th satellite for China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Wednesday.

The Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite is the first backup satellite of the BDS-3, and will be connected to the system after completing in-orbit tests.

This is the first BeiDou satellite launched since July 31, 2020, when the BeiDou system began providing full-scale global services.

The new satellite has achieved on-orbit thermal backup of existing geostationary orbit satellites, and will further improve the system's service performance, including enhancing availability and robustness, increasing the capacity of short message communication of the system by one third, and improving location services.

China plans to send one to three backup satellites for BDS year to improve the stability and usability of the constellation, according to the 13th China Satellite Navigation Conference held last month.

(CGTN's Guo Meiping, Sun Ye, Qiu Yunlong and Xu Beibei contributed to this story.)

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