Four BeiDou satellites join system, last two launches set

February 28, 2020  - By

More launches planned for March and May

Four new satellites of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) have passed tests in orbit and joined the system to provide positioning, navigation and timing services, according to China news service Xinhuanet.

The four satellites include the 47th, 48th, 52nd and 53rd satellites of the BDS family, according to China’s Satellite Navigation System Management Office.

All of them, operating in medium Earth orbit, were developed by the China Academy of Space Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

The 47th and 48th BDS satellites were launched on Sept. 23, 2019, and the 52nd and 53rd BDS satellites were launched on Dec. 16, 2019.

Two to the Last. The China Satellite Navigation System Management Office said the last two Beidou-3 satellite launches will take place in March and May, and complete the Beidou system.

China began to construct its navigation system, named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper constellation, in the 1990s and started serving the Asia-Pacific Region in 2012.

Over the past two years, China has successfully sent 28 BDS-3 satellites and two BDS-2 satellites into orbit.

China plans to launch more BDS satellites in March and May to complete the global network.

Photo: XinhuaNet

Photo: XinhuaNet

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.