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China Puts Third Navigation Satellite into Orbit
China successfully put its third Beidou navigation and positioning satellite into orbit early Sunday, a move indicating China has completed its own satellite navigation and positioning system.

The carrier rocket, Long March 3-A, blasted off at 00:34 (Beijing Time) from the Xichang Satellite Launching Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province. And 20 minutes after, the satellite separated from the rocket.

China sent the first two Beidou navigation satellites into orbit on Oct. 31 and Dec. 21 of 2000, respectively. Aerospace experts said the two satellites have been operating well.

The launching of the third satellite marks the formation of complete and sound satellite navigation and positioning system to ensure all-weather navigation and positioning information, said the experts.

They said the navigation system, which serves as a radio beacon in outer space, can help subscribers know their location at any time and place with accurate longitude, latitude and altitude data.   

China is one of the few countries in the world capable of developing such a system on its own, and has also made some innovations in the positioning property of the system, said the experts.

The China-made system will play an important role in economic matters, offering efficient navigation and positioning services for the sectors of transportation, meteorology, petroleum production, forest fire prevention, disaster forecast, telecommunications and public security.

Both the satellite and carrier rocket were developed by the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology and China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which are under the China Space Science and Technology Group.

New testing procedures were adopted in the launch, which not only help reduce the time needed for preparing for the launch, but also improve the quality of the carrier rocket, enabling China to be at the forefront in this field around the world, said the experts.

The launch represents the 70th flight for China's Long March series of rockets and the 28th consecutive successful launch for the series since October 1996.

(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2003)

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