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China launches two navigation satellites into space

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

today successfully launched two BeiDou-3 satellites to provide and positioning services to countries along the Belt and Road initiative of the Communist giant by the end of 2018.

The Long March-3B took off from Xichang Launch Center in the southwestern province of at 7:18 a.m. (local time).

This is the first launch of the satellites in 2018, which will see intensive launches throughout the year.

The two satellites are coded the 26th and 27th satellites in the System (BDS). The BDS is also being built as rival to US (GPS).

plans to send 18 BeiDou-3 satellites into space in 2018, according to Yang Changfeng, of the system.

"The intensive launches will pose a great challenge. We must exercise strict control over quality specifications to ensure each of them is a success," Yang said.

Aiming to promote international use, will move to incorporate BeiDou into the international system, enhance international cooperation, and make it compatible with from the United States, Russia's GLONASS, and the European Union's Galileo, he said.

The satellites and the rocket for today's launch were developed by the innovation academy for microsatellites at the and China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, respectively.

Named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper, the BeiDou project was formally launched in 1994. It began to serve China in 2000 and the region at the end of 2012.

By around 2020, when the BDS goes global, it will have more than 30 satellites.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is multibillion dollar project started by China to build, roads, ports, railway and other infrastructure projects in different parts of the world to expand its global influence.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 13:45 IST