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China Daily Mail

China Daily Mail

China launched two satellites into space yesterday, the latest additions to its burgeoning Beidou global navigation and positioning network.

It was the first time the nation successfully launched two navigation satellites on one rocket into a medium-high earth orbit of about 20,000 kilometres – a difficult feat.

Professor Jiao Weixin, from Peking University’s School of Earth and Space Sciences, said the mission required greater transport ability and technical precision. “China has previously launched three satellites on one carrier rocket” into geostationary orbit of about 36,000 kilometres, he said.

But those were lighter balloon satellites inflated with gas after being sent into orbit, and they did not have to be so carefully aligned.

“That was not as technically challenging as this mission,” said Jiao.

Xinhua reported that the Long March-3B rocket, carrying the network’s 12th and 13th satellites, blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan just before 5am.

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