China launched a navigational satellite, the nation's space administration reported, the second in a series of up to 30 orbiters to comprise a global positioning network.
The launch of the COMPASS satellite took place just after midnight from the Xichang Satellite Launching Centre in southwest Sichuan province, the China National Space Administration said on its website.
The satellite is one of up to 30 that China will put in orbit by 2015 to form the Beidou Navigation System, a global positioning system (GPS) completely developed by Chinese technology, Xinhua news agency reported.
"The system can help clients know their location at any time and place with accurate longitude, latitude and altitude data, and will offer 'safer' positioning, velocity, timing communications for authorised users," it said.
The system will provide services for transportation, meteorology, petroleum prospecting, disaster forecasting, telecommunications and public security, it added.
The system is expected to rival the US-developed GPS, the European Union's Galileo Positioning System and Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS).
The first COMPASS satellite was launched in April 2007, Xinhua said, after four other experimental COMPASS satellites were placed in orbit earlier this century.
Previous press reports said that China would launch 10 such navigational satellites in 2009 and 2010.
(c) 2009 AFP
Explore further: How can we search for life on icy moons such as Europa?