China launches pulsar navigation satellite

November 14, 2016  - By
XPNAV-1 (Image Source: Weibo)

XPNAV-1 (Image Source: Weibo)

China has successfully launched a navigation satellite that will conduct in-orbit experiments using pulsar detectors to demonstrate new technologies, reports The Indian Express.

The X-ray pulsar navigation satellite XPNAV-1 was launched Nov. 10 atop a Long March 11 solid-fueled rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China’s northwest.

The experimental pulsar navigation mission carries two sensors to pick up incoming X-rays from objects scattered across the galaxy, and use the detections to plot the craft’s position without relying on GPS satellites or pre-loaded navigation fixes.

Physics World published an article that describes pulsar navigation in June 2013.

Chinese officials said the XPNAV-1 satellite weighed more than 440 pounds (200 kilograms) at launch, and was developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., a contractor in the country’s state-run space industry.

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