China successfully launched another two satellites into space on Wednesday for its indigenous Beidou-2 global navigation and positioning network, marking another step toward completing the country's Global Positioning System (GPS) by 2020.
The 14th and 15th satellites for the Beidou-2 system, which were delivered by a Long March-3B carrier rocket, blasted off from Xichang, Sichuan Province.
The system has been used in transportation, weather forecasting, marine fisheries, telecommunications, hydrological monitoring and mapping, said the China Satellite Navigation Office.
In its latest public appearance, the Beidou-2 is being used to allocate Chinese fishing boats in waters around the Diaoyu Islands amid China's ongoing territorial row with Japan, China Central Television reported Tuesday.
"The system has been used since 2007 to monitor Chinese fishing boats in the South China Sea," Lan Yun, editor of Beijing-based magazine Modern Ships, told the Global Times, adding that its application in remote regions such as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Nansha Islands was considered in the designing phase and its terminals can also send and receive text messages.
The Beidou-2 system completed the regional deployment for China and surrounding areas by the end of 2011, an aerospace industry insider who requested anonymity told the Global Times. "We launched more satellites this year to improve the reliability and service quality of regional coverage," he said.
Three Beidou satellites, including the 11th, 12th and 13th, were sent into space early this year.
"By the end of this year, we will launch the last satellite to perfect the regional constellation," the insider added.
China started to build up its own satellite navigation system, Beidou-1, to end its dependence on the US GPS in 2000.
Due to Beidou-1 being unable to meet growing demand, Beijing decided to set up a more functional system, said Qi Faren, former chief designer of the Shenzhou spaceships. China will launch 35 satellites to form the Beidou-2 system by the end of 2020.
Xinhua contributed to this story