China Launches 2 More Beidou Navigation Satellites

China has moved a step closer to completing its own navigation and positioning satellite network with the launch of two more navigation satellites.

It brings the Beidou system, which became operational with coverage of China last December, to 13 satellites.

China launches a Long March rocket in this file photo. (AP Photo)

To have global coverage, the country eventually aims to have 35 satellites in orbit by 2020.

China hopes that Beidou will wean it off the US Global Positioning System.

Just like GPS, the Chinese system is designed to let users determine their positions to within a few meters.

Beidou, also known as Compass, has been developed for both military and civilian uses.

The two satellites went up on Monday morning from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest Sichuan province.

They were carried on a Long March-3B rocket, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

“The two satellites will help improve the accuracy of the Beidou, or Compass system,” Xichang Satellite Launch Centre said in a statement carried by the agency.

Now partially operational, Beidou makes China only the third country in the world, after the US and Russia, to have its own navigation system.

Continue reading at BBC News.