China on Saturday successfully placed a multi-purpose navigation satellite into orbit, its first space launch after it "killed" a redundant satellite with a ground-based ballistic missile three week ago.
The satellite, which will also perform "national security task", was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province and separated from the rocket, Long March 3-A, about 24 minutes later.
Data from the Xi'an satellite monitoring centre showed that the satellite had accurately entered its orbit.
It is China's fourth Beidou (Big Dipper) navigation experimental satellite in orbit. The previous three were sent in space on October 31, 2000, December 21, 2000 and May 25, 2003 Experts said the Beidou satellite navigation experimental system is operating well and has played a significant role in cartography, telecommunications, water conservation, transportation, prospecting, forest fire monitoring and national security.
The satellite, serving as a backup, may replace the first Beidou satellite when necessary, continuing to provide all- weather and all-day navigation and positioning information.
Experts said China is establishing the Compass Navigation Satellite System on the basis of the Beidou satellite navigation experimental systemb that will in 2008 fully meet the demand of satellite navigation for clients in China and neighbouring regions.
The Compass Navigation Satellite System will gradually extend to be a global satellite navigation and positioning system after network building and experiments, experts said.