A Long March 3B lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China at 2:09 p.m. Eastern Monday, sending a Beidou satellite toward an inclined geosynchronous orbit.
The launch means China is now able proceed with its pioneering Chang’e-4 lunar mission, which will attempt the first ever soft-landing on the far side of the moon, with launch expected Dec. 7.
China’s launch of a pair of Beidou navigation satellites late Friday saw the country set a new annual launch record as its space activities ramp up.
The July 9 launches were China’s 19th and 20th of 2018, with CASC aiming to carry out around 36 launches this year.
Singapore and China have agreed to open a center to develop applications for China’s Beidou global navigation system and have signed a commercial agreement to create anti-jamming systems to protect Beidou signals, Singapore and Chinese organizations announced June 2.
China launched a new navigation satellite and payload dispenser March 31 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Sichuan province aboard a Long March 3C rocket, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
A senior Chinese government space official on Feb. 5 said precision-navigation user terminals in China will be fitted with chipsets receiving satellite signals not only China’s Beidou constellation, but also from the U.S., Russian and European systems.