China launches new tracking and data relay satellite
Story Code : 789810
Launched on a Long March-3B carrier rocket, it is the 44th satellite of the BDS satellite family and the first BDS-3 satellite inclined in a geosynchronous Earth orbit.
After in-orbit tests, the satellite will work with 18 other BDS-3 satellites in intermediate circular orbit and one in geosynchronous Earth orbit.
"When the satellite enters orbit, the service capability and accuracy of the system will be improved for our country, the surrounding regions as well as the Belt and Road region. We will also frequently launch satellites this year. We plan to officially launch the global network of the BDS-3 system by 2020," said Chen Zhonggui, chief designer of the BDS-3 satellite.
According to Yang Changfeng, the chief designer of the BeiDou system, the hybrid constellation design, in which three groups of satellites at different orbital regimes work in concert, was an exclusive BDS innovation and the world's first.
It will increase the number of visible satellites in the Asian-Pacific Region, providing better service for the region.
The launch was the 302nd flight mission for the Long March series of carrier rockets, and the 100th for the Long March-3B.
So far, a total of four BeiDou test satellites and 44 BDS satellites have been sent to preset orbits via 36 flight missions launched by Long March-3A and Long March-3B carrier rockets.
The launch on Saturday also marked the first launch of the BDS in 2019. This year, about eight to 10 BDS satellites are scheduled to be launched, wrapping up launch missions of all BDS-3 satellites in medium Earth orbit.
"One hundred launches have been completed with the Long March 3A rocket series, with a 98 percent success rate, which is ranked at the world's top level.
We completed 14 launches last year and we have conducted 13 launches since the beginning of this year. In the coming years, we will conduct more than a dozen launch missions annually in short intervals," said Jiang Jie, chief designer of the Long March 3A rocket series.
The BDS has been widely used around the world, such as building construction in Kuwait, precision agriculture in Myanmar, land survey and mapping in Uganda and warehousing and logistics in Thailand.