China launched two more Beidou-3 satellites March 30, the seventh and eighth of the third phase of the Beidou system.
Launch via Long March 3B rocket took place at 01:56 Beijing time Friday (17:56 UTC Thursday) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, reports gbtimes.com.
The satellites join six others orbiting at 21,000 kilometers above the Earth. BeiDou-3 is designed to expand Beidou navigation, positioning and timing services from regional to global coverage by 2020.
The satellites were inserted into medium Earth orbits by a Yuanzheng-1 upper stage more than three hours after launch, with CASC, China’s main aerospace contractor, then confirming success.
The satellites were developed by the Innovation Academy for Microsatellites at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), while the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) under CASC provided the Long March 3B launch vehicle.