China successfully launched into orbit the final satellite of its Beidou navigation network on Tuesday, a statement from Beidou’s government official website reported.
The launch achieves global coverage for the country’s home-grown competitor to the United States-owned GPS system.
“The satellite took off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province, propelled by Long March carrier rockets,’’ the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The 10 billion-dollar Beidou project has been in development since the 1990s, with its first satellites launched in 2000.
The first generation covered only China and the second generation was expanded across the Asia-Pacific region.
Deployment of the current, third generation of satellites, Beidou-3, began in 2015 to realise worldwide coverage.
The latest satellite in orbit is the 30th for Beidou-3 and the 55th overall across all three generations.
The launch was originally scheduled for June 16, however was cancelled unexpectedly due to technical problems.