06:00 GMT19 January 2021
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    BEIJING (Sputnik) – China successfully launched the BeiDou-3 satellite, the 41st satellite to join the nation’s BeiDou navigation system, atop the Long March 3B carrier rocket, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said on Friday.

    The lift-off took place at 11:56 p.m. (15:56 GMT) on Thursday from the Xichang space center in the southwest of China. The satellite will be connected to the navigation system after undergoing a number of checks.

    The satellite is the 17th Beidou-3 satellite within the system. China plans to launch up to 30 such satellites to the orbit by 2022.

    READ MORE: China, France Launch Groundbreaking Satellite to Fight Climate Change

    The BeiDou system is designed as a rival to GPS in the United States, Glonass in Russia and Galileo in the European Union.

    The Chinese space exploration program has said that the BeiDou system would provide services to the countries located along the so-called New Silk Road initiative, started by China in cooperation with other regional players, in 2018. Beijing also plans that the system will operate worldwide in 2020.


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