by Staff Writers
Xichang, China (XNA) Jun 02, 2010
China is to launch its fourth orbiter into space as a part of its indigenous satellite navigation and positioning network known as Beidou, or Compass system.
An unnamed official with the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, in southwestern Sichuan Province, said the satellite would be launched on the Long March 3III carrier rocket "in a few days."
The satellite and the rocket were in sound condition and preparations had been running smoothly, the official said Monday, without giving the exact launch date.
If launched successfully, the orbiter will join another three satellites in orbit to form a network that will eventually total 35 satellites.
According to plan, the network will be capable of providing global navigation services across the world around 2020. The system will provide navigation, time signal and short message services in the Asia and Pacific region around 2012.
China started to build up its own satellite navigation system to break its dependence on the U.S. GPS system in 2000, when it sent two orbiters as a double-satellite experimental positioning system, known as the Beidou system.
Source: Source: Xinhua
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