China sent a new satellite of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) into space from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province at 10:41pm Saturday.
Launched on a Long March-3B carrier rocket, it is the 44th satellite of the BDS satellite family and the first BDS-3 satellite in inclined geosynchronous Earth orbit.
After in-orbit tests, the satellite will work with 18 other BDS-3 satellites in intermediate circular orbit and one in geosynchronous Earth orbit, reports Xinhua.
Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the BeiDou system, said that the hybrid constellation design, in which three groups of satellites at different orbital regimes work in concert, was an exclusive BDS innovation and the world's first.
It will increase the number of visible satellites in the Asian-Pacific Region, providing better service for the region, Yang said.
The launch was the 302nd flight mission for the Long March series of carrier rockets, and the 100th for the Long March-3B.
So far, a total of four BeiDou test satellites and 44 BDS satellites have been sent to preset orbits via 36 flight missions launched by Long March-3A and Long March-3B carrier rockets.
The launch on Saturday also marked the first launch of the BDS in 2019. This year, about 8-10 BDS satellites are scheduled to be launched, wrapping up launch missions of all BDS-3 satellites in medium Earth orbit.
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