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China launched its twenty-second BeiDou satellite on March 30


The People’s Republic of China launched the BeiDou-2 I6 positioning satellite on a Long March rocket at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province at 4:11 on March 30 local time (5:11 JST). It was put on a prescribed inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO; altitude of 35,400 kilometers, orbital inclination of 55 degrees). This brought the total number of Chinese positioning satellites launched since April 2007 to 22 (five on a geostationary orbit [GEO], eight on a medium earth orbit [MEO], and eight on an IGSO).


Image provided by: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation

This satellite is a second-generation model (launched from April 2007 to October 2012), and unlike the third-generation satellites (launched from March 2015), the B1 signal is not compatible with general use signals like GPS and Galileo. However, this launch was necessary to maintain the group of second-generation satellites currently under operation (services were started for the Asia-Pacific region in October 2012). In this way, there are six second-generation satellites on an IGSO.