China launched a Beidou/Compass navigation satellite into orbit in mid-December to cap a year that included a record-breaking 15 successful launches of the Long March rocket.
The Beidou/Compass satellite that lifted off aboard a Long March 3A rocket at 4:20 a.m. Beijing time Dec. 18 from the Xichang Launch Center in southwester Sichuan province was the fifth such domestic navigation satellite China launched in 2010. It joined six other Beidou/Compass satellites already on orbit, according to a post-launch report by China’s Xinhua state-run news agency. Plans call for a 30-satellite constellation that will allow China to end its dependence on the U.S. GPS satellite navigation system.
China’s previous record for the most Long March launches in a year was 11.