XICHANG, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — China completed the deployment of the core BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) constellation after successfully sending the 52nd and 53rd BDS satellites into space Monday, setting a new world record for deploying a global satellite navigation system.
In recent years, the BDS has entered a period of high-density launches. Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the BDS, told reporters at the launch site that the BDS-3 has achieved 18 successful launches in a row since its first satellite was sent into space in 2017.
The BDS is a global navigation satellite system independently constructed and operated by China. China started to build the BDS-3 in 2009 and launched the first BDS-3 satellite on Nov. 5, 2017.
With efforts from more than 100,000 researchers and engineers from some 300 research and manufacturing institutions, 28 BDS-3 satellites and two BDS-2 backup satellites were successfully sent into preset orbits over a period of around two years, said Yang.
An average of 1.2 satellites were launched every month, setting a new world record for deploying a global navigation satellite system, he noted.
In the late 20th century, China started to explore the path of developing a navigation satellite system suited to its national conditions.
The country laid down a three-step strategy toward its own system. It completed the BDS-1 at the end of 2000, providing service in China. The BDS-2 was completed at the end of 2012, providing service to the Asia-Pacific region. The BDS-3 is expected to be completed around 2020, providing service to users around the world.
The BDS-3 project has entered the final sprint phase, said Yang. In order to provide global service with greater performance, China plans to launch two geostationary orbit satellites by June 2020 and finish building the BDS-3 system.
Meanwhile, China has started the work to tackle some key technologies in the future development of the BDS, planning to build a comprehensive PNT system of positioning, navigation and timing based on the BDS by 2035.
China sent two BDS satellites into space from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province at 15:22 Monday.
With the launch, all 24 medium earth orbit satellites in the BDS-3 have been successfully sent into space, and the deployment of the core BDS-3 constellation system has been completed.