China successfully launched a satellite into space at 12:12 a.m. Beijing Time Saturday, the 11th one of its indigenous global navigation and positioning network known as Beidou, or Compass system, the launch center said.
The Long March-3C carrier rocket lifts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China's Sichuan province, Feb 25, 2012. [China.org.cn]
It was also the 158th launch of the Long March carrier rockets.
The Beidou system started to provide services on a trial basis on Dec. 27, 2011. The system has been used in transportation, weather forecasting, marine fisheries, hydrological monitoring, and mapping.
China began to build the Beidou system in 2000 with a goal of breaking its dependence on the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and creating its own global positioning system by 2020.
China will launch more satellites for the Beidou network this year to improve the system's coverage and services, according to the launch center.