China launches pulsar navigation satellite XPNAV-1

Nov 12, 2016 07:35 IST

China on 10 November 2016 launched a pulsar test satellite XPNAV-1 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. The satellite was carried by a Long March-11 rocket.

It was the 239th flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket.

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The satellite and the rocket were designed by academies affiliated with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

Highlights of the pulsar test satellite XPNAV-1

• This X-ray pulsar navigation satellite weighs more than 200 kilogrammes.
• It operates in a Sun-synchronous orbit and will conduct in-orbit experiments using pulsar detectors to demonstrate new technologies.
• While in orbit, the satellite will undergo tests on its detector functions and space environment adaptability.
• The periodic X-ray signals emitted from pulsars will be used to determine the location of a spacecraft in deep space.
• The X-ray pulsar navigation will help reduce the spacecraft’s reliance on ground-based navigation methods and is expected to lead to autonomous spacecraft navigation in the future.

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