C4iSR: Air

China launches penultimate BeiDou navigation satellite

11 March 2020

The penultimate satellite required to complete the BeiDou global positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) system was launched from the Xichang satellite launch centre in southwestern China on 9 March.

The BeiDou system has been developed in three phases. The first phase was largely experimental with the first satellite placed in orbit in October 2000. The second phase provided a regional navigation system and was declared operational in 2012. The third phase provides global coverage, with the launch of the final satellite in the network planned for May.

A total of 54 BeiDou-2 and BeiDou-3 satellites have been launched since 2007, although these include some platforms that provide a degree of redundancy and others used to fully develop the BeiDou-3 system.

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