China adds 2 satellites to global positioning net

September 19, 2012

(AP)—China has added two more satellites to a global navigation network that will eventually compete with America's Global Positioning System.

State media say the 14th and 15th satellites in the Beidou system were launched aboard a single Long March 3B rocket early Wednesday. The system, whose name means compass in English, is due to have 35 satellites in total by its 2020 completion date.

The system already provides coverage over much of Asia, with at least one more satellite set for this year. China expects Beidou to generate a 400 billion yuan ($63 billion) annual market for services to the transport, and telecommunications sectors.

The system's military implications are just as important, freeing China from having to use GPS for tasks such as missiles guidance.

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