Sichuan: China launched a navigation satellite early Saturday morning, which will form part of the country's 'Compass' navigational system. According to previously published reports, the system will revolve around at least 35 satellites, of which five are geo-stationary Earth orbit (GEO) and 30 medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites.
Official sources said that the 'Compass' system is expected to provide services to customers all over China and neighboring countries by 2008.
A Xinhua report said that the carrier rocket, Long March 3-A, blasted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan province at 4:11 am. According to the report, the satellite had "accurately" entered its orbit.
According to official sources, the 'Compass' navigational system is designed to provide navigation and positioning services in transportation, meteorology, petroleum prospecting, forest fire monitoring, disaster forecast, telecommunications and public security, among others tasks.
With more satellites to be sent into orbits in coming years, the system will cover China and its neighboring countries by 2008, before being expanded into a global network of navigation and positioning. Previous reports said it would provide clients with positioning accuracy within 10 meters, velocity accuracy with 0.2 meter per second and timing accuracy within 50 nanoseconds.
Earlier, on February 3, China successfully put a test 'Compass' satellite into orbit, the fourth of such experimental satellites launched since 2000.