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China lifts navigation technology

CHINA put a second orbiter into space early yesterday as it moved ahead with a program to build its own global satellite navigation system.

The carrier rocket, a Long March 3C, blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 12:16am. It was the 116th flight for the country's Long March series of rockets.

An official at the National Engineering Center of Satellite Navigation said the successful launch of the Earth orbiter was of great importance as it showed the country's increasing independence from foreign technology.

The system, code-named Compass, is a crucial part of the country's space infrastructure for providing navigation and positioning services for transportation, meteorology, petroleum prospecting, forest fire monitoring, disaster forecasting, telecommunications and public security, among other fields.

The navigation system will help clients determine their location with accurate longitude, latitude and altitude data.

China plans to complete its independent global satellite navigation system by launching about 30 more orbiters before 2015, with 10 navigation satellites to be sent into space this year and next. The current Compass system provides only regional navigation service within China and neighboring areas.

China put its first Compass satellite into orbit in April 2007 as it moved to build its own positioning system following the US Global Positioning System, the Galileo Positioning System of Europe and Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System.


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