Launch Updates - Analytical Graphics, Inc.

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New Launch: 2011 December 1, 2107 UTC
Site: Xichang Launch Facility, PRC
Launcher: Long March 3A (Chang Zheng 3A)
International Designator(s): 2011-073A
SSC Name Owner

"Shattering a record for annual Chinese launch activity, a Long March rocket streaked into a predawn sky Thursday and entered orbit with a Beidou navigation satellite.

"A Long March 3A booster lifted off at 2107 GMT (4:07 p.m. EST) from the Xichang space center in southwest China's Sichuan province, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

"The launch occurred at 5:07 a.m. Beijing time.

"The 172-foot[52.4-m]-tall Long March rocket deployed China's 10th operational Beidou navigation satellite launched since 2007. Chinese officials said the launch was successful.

"The spacecraft is bound for an inclined geosynchronous orbit more 22,000 miles [35,406 km] high with an inclination of about 55 degrees, putting the satellite in range of navigation users at high latitudes.

"Xinhua reported the basic structure of the Beidou system has now been established, and Chinese officials are conducting tests and evaluation of the navigation network. Positioning, navigation and timing services could be available across China and neighboring regions by the end of this year, according to official news reports.

"China will launch more Beidou satellites next year, and the system will be complete by 2020 with 30 satellites in orbit.

"The satellite constellation, also known as Compass, is designed to end China's dependence on the U.S. military Global Positioning System.

"The best service will be available to Chinese military and civil government users. Positioning information with an accuracy of 10 meters, or about 33 feet, will be released to the public worldwide."

[Note: This launch notification was delayed pending identification by USSTRATCOM.]

Source: Spaceflight Now, "Successful Chinese space launch breaks annual record"

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