China Plans Dual Launches of Compass-BeiDou MEOs

News sources indicate that the first Beidou-2 dual launch will take place in April or possibly May. A Long March 3B rocket will carry two middle Earth orbiting (MEO) satellites (M3 and M4) into orbit.

In addition to being the first dual launch of Compass satellites, this will be the first launch of MEO spacecraft since April 14, 2007, when the Chinese GNSS program put the initial second-generation BeiDou satellite into orbit. So far, Compass M1 is the only MEO satellite in the BeiDou-2 constellation.


News sources indicate that the first Beidou-2 dual launch will take place in April or possibly May. A Long March 3B rocket will carry two middle Earth orbiting (MEO) satellites (M3 and M4) into orbit.

In addition to being the first dual launch of Compass satellites, this will be the first launch of MEO spacecraft since April 14, 2007, when the Chinese GNSS program put the initial second-generation BeiDou satellite into orbit. So far, Compass M1 is the only MEO satellite in the BeiDou-2 constellation.

A similar launch is expected later in 2012 for satellites designated M2 and M5, as well as the sixth geostationary satellite (G6). Compass launches take place from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China’s Sichuan Province.

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