Two 3d generation Beidou satellites, the first of their type, were launched by a Long March 3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province on Nov. 5 and were placed in medium Earth orbit. The new-generation satellites feature better accuracy, stability and signal clarity than previous Beidou models thanks to improvements in intersatellite links, laser communication devices and atomic clocks. They will also be more compatible with GPS, GLONASS and Galileo. Beidou is the world’s fourth navigation satellite system, following GPS in the United States, GLONASS in Russia and Galileo in the European Union.

CAS news release, November 8, 2011