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China launches new navigation satellite
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China successfully launched a fifth orbiter into space Sunday as a part of its indigenous satellite navigation and global positioning network.

The satellite was launched at 5.30 a.m. from the Long March 3I carrier rocket, Xinhua reported.

The satellite will join other four satellites in orbit to form a network that will eventually consist of 35 satellites.

The network system, 'COMPASS', is a crucial part of China's space infrastructure for providing navigation and positioning services in transportation, meteorology, petroleum prospecting, forest fire monitoring, disaster forecast, telecommunications and public security among others.

China started building its own satellite navigation system in 2000 to end its dependence on the US GPS system, when it sent two orbiters as a double-satellite experimental positioning system.


The system is expected to start providing navigation, time and short message services in the Asia and Pacific region before 2012 and will be capable of providing global navigation services by 2020.

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