China successfully launched a BeiDou navigation satellite aboard a Long March 3B late yesterday. The satellite is the 46th BeiDou satellite and the 21st of the third-generation variant of the satellite.
The Long March 3B carrying the BeiDou satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 18:09 UTC on Monday, June 24. Following the launch, China’s state-run media agency Xinhua News confirmed that the satellite had been successfully deployed into a geostationary orbit.
The satellite will join the 45 others within the BeiDou constellation. The constellation is expected to support the BeiDou navigation system which is scheduled to become operational in 2020. It is hoped that it will reduce the country’s and its partner’s dependency on the American GPS system.
China is planning to launch a total of 10 BeiDou satellites this year in order to stick to the 2020 deadline. The last BeiDou satellite, a second-generation varient that improved overall redundancy in the system was launched aboard a Long March 3C on May 17, 2019.