Sichuan: China launched its sixth orbiter early on Monday morning for the ambitious space programme to form part of its indigenous satellite-navigation and -positioning network.
China is embarking on this mission due to the fact that the US will end the service of its space shuttle Discovery after its final flight on Wednesday.
A Long March-3C carrier rocket carrying the "Beidou," navigation satellite took off at 0:26 a.m. Monday (1626 GMT, Sunday) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The Beidou VI will join five other satellites already in orbit to form a network which will eventually consist of 35 satellites.
The network will provide satellite navigation services for Asia-Pacific regions by 2012 and global services by 2020.
The day before the launch, the Beidou VI was transported to Xichang by air and then it was installed in its carrier in Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, according to China's state broadcaster CCTV.
The China Academy of Space Technology developed the satellite and the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology developed the carrier rocket, according to Xinhua.
Story first published:
November 01, 2010 17:08 IST