China has successfully launched two BeiDou-3 satellites to provide navigation and positioning services to countries along Belt and Road initiative (BRI) by the end of 2018.
The two satellites were designated as BeiDou-3 M7 and BeiDou-3 M8 (26th and 27th satellites) in BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).
These two satellites were launched on board of Long March-3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwestern province of Sichuan.
BeiDou is 2nd generation of Chinese homegrown navigational system seen as rival to US’s Global Positioning System (GPS).
It was named after Chinese term for plough or Big Dipper constellation.
It comprises constellation of total 35 satellites in two separate satellite constellations viz. limited test system (operational since 2000) and full-scale global navigation system which is currently under construction.