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'Compass' Navigation Satellite Begins Operations
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China has put a new "Compass" navigation satellite into use after technicians completed the third position fixing on Monday, according to China's satellite control center.

The satellite, launched early Saturday, is part of the country's ambitious "Compass" navigational system, which is expected to provide services to customers all over China and neighboring countries by 2008. It will eventually be expanded to become a global navigation and positioning network.

The Xi'an Satellite Control Center reported that it adjusted the satellite's position via remote control system for the last time on Monday, sending the satellite into the exact orbit.

It said the onboard equipments are functioning well.

The "Compass" navigational system is mainly designed for the country's economic development, providing navigation and positioning services in transportation, meteorology, petroleum prospecting, forest fire monitoring, disaster forecasting, telecommunications, and public security, among others.

The system includes at least 35 satellites, namely five geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) and 30 medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites, according to previous reports.

On February 3, China successfully put a test "Compass" satellite into orbit, the fourth of such experimental satellites launched since 2000.

Experts said the "Compass" navigation experimental system is operating well and has played a significant role in providing all-weather and all-day navigation and positioning information.

China is one of a few countries in the world that are capable of developing navigation satellite systems on its own. Previous reports said the "Compass" system will provide clients with positioning accuracy within 10 meters, velocity accuracy with 0.2 meter per second and timing accuracy within 50 nanoseconds.

(Xinhua News Agency April 17, 2007)

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