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China launches second navigation satellite


BEIJING, April 15 (RIA Novosti) - China has successfully launched its second navigation satellite as part of a project to develop its own global satellite navigation system, the Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

The Long March 3C rocket with a Beidou-G2 satellite onboard was launched at 0:16 a.m. local time on Wednesday (Tuesday 16:16 GMT) from the Xichang space center in the country's southwest.

"The successful launch of the geostationary Earth orbit satellite was of great importance as it was the second one of the country's satellite navigation system independent from foreign technology," the agency said, citing an official at the National Engineering Center of Satellite Navigation.

The satellite navigation project, named Beidou (compass), begun in 2000, currently comprises five geostationary Earth orbit satellites. Around 30 more satellites are expected to be orbited by 2015, of which 10 are scheduled for launch in 2009-2010.

Beidou currently provides navigation services within China and neighboring region. After completion, the project would become an equivalent of the U.S.'s Global Positioning System (GPS), Russia's Glonass, and Europe's Galileo.

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