China on Thursday launched a navigation satellite which will conduct in-orbit experiments using pulsar detectors to demonstrate new technologies. The X-ray pulsar navigation satellite, weighing more than 200 kilogrammes, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the country’s northwest.
It was carried by a Long March-11 rocket, the 239th flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket series. While in orbit, the satellite will undergo tests on its detector functions and space environment adaptability. The satellite and the rocket were designed by academies affiliated with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
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.