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Defence & Aerospace

China launches two satellites on one rocket

China launched two satellites into space yesterday, the latest additions to its burgeoning Beidou global navigation and positioning network.

It was the first time the nation successfully launched two navigation satellites on one rocket into a medium-high earth orbit of about 20,000 kilometres – a difficult feat.

Professor Jiao Weixin, from Peking University’s School of Earth and Space Sciences, said the mission required greater transport ability and technical precision. “China has previously launched three satellites on one carrier rocket” into geostationary orbit of about 36,000 kilometres, he said.

But those were lighter balloon satellites inflated with gas after being sent into orbit, and they did not have to be so carefully aligned.

“That was not as technically challenging as this mission,” said Jiao.

Xinhua reported that the Long March-3B rocket, carrying the network’s 12th and 13th satellites, blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan just before 5am.

Jiao noted that the launch of two navigation satellites at once shows how China is picking up the pace of developing Beidou, in a push to compete in satellite navigation – a field largely dominated by the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS), Russia’s Glonass and Europe’s Galileo.

The two satellites will help improve the accuracy of the Beidou – or “Compass” – system, Xinhua quoted the launch centre as saying.

The centre said China would launch three more satellites for the network this year, and that a global satellite positioning and navigation system would be completed in 2020 with more than 30 satellites.

Yesterday’s mission marked the 160th flight of the Long March series of carrier rockets.

Though Beidou is still incomplete, the central government said last year that the system had already proven its worth in enhancing the country’s military, and in making the nation technologically and economically stronger.

Beijing views an independent satellite navigation system as important to national security.

Retired general Xu Guangyu , now a senior researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, previously told the South China Morning Post that Beidou would significantly increase China’s military strength and political influence around the world.

Without its own GPS, Chinese troops and naval vessels have had to depend heavily, if not entirely, on America’s network, Xu said. The US military could – and had – manipulated the signals and threatened China’s national security, he said.

Mimi Lau
South China Morning Post

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee


4 thoughts on “China launches two satellites on one rocket

  1. Reblogged this on Craig Hill.


    Posted by Craig Hill | May 1, 2012, 4:29 pm
  2. I hope Bo … is aboard one of them !!!! They could send up the government too.


    Posted by viveka | May 2, 2012, 1:21 am


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