China successfully launched a new pair of navigation satellites on Sunday. The launch of Beidou-3M19 (Beidou-47) and Beidou-3M20 (Beidou-48) took place from the LC2 Launch Complex of the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan province, using the Long March-3B/YZ-1 (Y65) – Chang Zheng-3B/YZ-1 – launch vehicle. Launch time was around 21:20 UTC and it will take over four hours to complete the mission.
The MEO satellites are the Medium Earth Orbit component of the third phase of the Chinese Beidou (Compass) satellite navigation system. The satellites are part of a fleet that will expand the system into global navigation coverage.
The satellites are using a bus that features a phased array antenna for navigation signals and a laser retroreflector, with a launch mass 1,014 kg. Spacecraft dimensions are noted to be 2.25 by 1.0 by 1.22 meters. Usually, the satellites reside in a 21,500 – 21,400 km nominal orbit at 55.5 degrees.
Render of a BeiDou-3 satellite by J. Huart.
This was the fourth launch dedicated to the replenishment of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System in 2019. Launch activities started on April 20th with the launch of Beidou-3IGSO-1 (Beidou-44) satellite from the LC3 Launch Complex of the Xichang Satellite Launch Center ...