Another seven BeiDou satellites are scheduled to be launched by November, said an official from the China Satellite Navigation Office. The BeiDou satellite constellation has entered a key period. With this latest batch, China will have launched a total of 19 satellites for its BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), which can provide basic services globally, Ran Chengqi, director the China Satellite Navigation Office, told chinanews.com. The previous launch sent the 11th and 12th satellites from the BeiDou-3 family into orbit August. China successfully sent another two satellites into space via the Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. China plans to build a global navigation system consisting of 30 BeiDou satellites by 2020. The launch of 19 satellites this year plays a vital role in the constellation process.
The BDS features many self-developed technologies, among which is the way of multi-orbit space constellation. The system deploys the satellites at three different orbits ranging from 20,000 to 30,000 kilometers away from the Earth, forming an intersected network. “We have a geostationary orbit, inclining geostationary synchronized orbit, and intermediate circular orbit at a distance of 25,000 kilometers. We call it a hybrid constellation, which is an innovation among the world’s satellite navigation systems,” said Ran.