Pressing ahead with its plans to put together its own Global Positioning System (GPS) to rival the American network, China today launched its eighth navigation satellite, which will form part of its indigenous satellite-navigation set-up.
A Long March-3A carrier rocket carrying the "Beidou" or Compass navigation satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province. It will join seven other satellites already in orbit to form a network which will eventually consist of more than 30 satellites, official media here reported.
The successful launching of the satellite marks the establishment of a basic system for the navigation and positioning network, a spokesperson for the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre said. China will launch more satellites within the coming two years to finish a regional network to provide navigation services with high precision and credibility for industries and sectors such as mapping, fishery, transportation, meteorology and telecommunication in the Asia-Pacific region, the spokesperson said.
The network is scheduled to be able to provide global services by 2020. According to Chinese officials, the indigenous GPS is essential from China's economic and defence operations.