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China successfully launches pulsar satellite

  • Author:Joey
  • Release on:2016-11-17
China successfully launched the world's first X-ray pulsar navigation satellite on Thursday 
morning, bringing a more precise deep-space GPS system one step closer to reality.

The X-ray pulsar navigation satellite, or XPNAV-1, was launched at the Jiuquan satellite 
launch center in northwest China.

After entering orbit, the satellite will conduct experiments on X-ray pulsar navigation. 
This is a technique that uses periodic X-ray signals emitted from pulsars to determine 
the location of a spacecraft in deep space.

The satellite, developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation 
(CASC) Fifth Academy, weighs more than 200 kilograms and carries two detectors.

In its mission, the satellite will test the detectors' functions in responding to the 
background noise of the universe, outline pulsar contours, and create a database 
for pulsar navigation, according to CASC Fifth Academy.

“The successful launch is just the first step. It still takes two months or so for us to 
test its functionality,” said Xue Lijun, chief scientist behind the research of XPNAV-1