China launches BeiDou satellites
China launched 2 further BeiDou navigation satellites at 2318 UTC on 11 January.
A Long March-3B rocket launched Beidou-3M spacecraft 26 and 27 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan province. After just over 4 hours, the 2,230 lb (1,014 kg) satellites were reported to be successfully released into their ~11,600 NM (21,500 km) medium earth orbits (MEO) inclined at 55.5º.
These Phase 3 BeiDou satellites are using a frequency centred at 1575.42 MHz and multiplexed binary offset carrier (MBOC) modulation - both features identical to the GPS L1 and Galileo E1 civil signals, making all 3 systems entirely compatible.
The current BeiDou Phase 2 covers the region with a claimed accuracy (95%) of 6 m horizontal and 10 m vertical. Phase 3 aims for full operational capability (FOC) by 2020 with a constellation of 35 satellites - 27 MEO plus 5 geostationary (GEO) and the existing 3 inclined geostationay (IGSO) satellites. This would give worldwide cover.
BeiDou's Chief Designer states that China plans to launch a total of 18 BeiDou-3 satellites during 2018.
Image from Chinese Media.
Further details from the links below . .