China has launched its 16th Beidou navigation satellite from the Xichang launch site in central China. The launch was successful, according to Chinese state media.

The satellite launched aboard a Long March 3C, a Long March 3-series vehicle with two strap-on solid-fuel boosters. This latest satellite reportedly replaces one of the first-generation Beidous.

China is in the midst of building a regional geolocation constellation, not unlike the USA's GPS, Russia's GLONASS or Europe's Galileo constellations. The nation plans to have 35 Beidou satellites in orbit by 2020.

Although lagging behind more established powers, China is by far the most ambitious space-faring nation, with plans to establish its own space station and launch numerous probes and planetary rovers into outer space. China's manned spaceflight programme has also been accelerating rapidly.

Source: Flight International