(Yicai Global) Feb. 13 -- China has successfully sent to two satellites for its BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System into orbit using a single Long March-3B carrier rocket, which took off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center yesterday.
The event marks the third time that China has launched satellites for its global navigation network. The latest two represent the fifth and sixth satellites for the third-generation system.
After a flight of over three hours, the satellites entered orbit on schedule and China will carry out tests before they enter operation in sync with the other four Beidou-3 satellites previously launched.
Beidou-3 will improve positioning inaccuracies to within half-a-meter from five-to-ten meters under the current Beidou-2 system. China’s independently-developed Beidou navigation system is the third mature global satellite navigation system following the US' GPS (global positioning system) and Russia’s GLONASS.
Satellite positioning service company Qianxun Spatial Intelligence Co., a joint venture of tech giant Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. and Beijing-based contractor Norinco Group Co., is responsible for constructing infrastructure on the ground for BeiDou-3.
The company has already established over 2,000 ground base stations nationwide, said CEO Chen Jinpei, adding that by 2018, its real-time centimeter-class positioning service will cover all of mainland China.
Qianxun SI has already cooperated with several companies to promote the use of associated navigational services in consumer products. 100 million mobile phones have access to the firm’s FindNow positioning function, while 43 carmakers and solution providers are using Beidou positioning service to develop autonomous driving technology, accounting for over half of the sector.
Chen anticipates that more products like mobile phones, bikes and wearables will adopt Beidou services in the future.