The following is based on a translation from a report in Chinese media:
The Expedition-1 can send multiple satellites to different orbits as it has a top stage in addition to the usual three stages of China’s Changzheng-3B rocket.
The report says that the top stage sent the two satellites into their respective orbits accurately in 3.5 hours.
They are BeiDou’s 18th and 19th satellites, the second and third satellites for BeiDou’s world coverage. The first such satellite was launched on March 17 this year.
The report said that the launch of two additional satellites only four months after the first proves China’s great efforts in expanding the BDS, which according some experts is capable of detecting the launch of ICBMs immediately no matter where in the world they are launched.
China has had three successful tests of mid-course interception of ICBMs but according to its top ICBM expert, it lacks the satellite system to immediately discover and track the launch of ICBMs anywhere in the world.
Obviously China is not satisfied with merely having an effective second-strike nuclear capability for nuclear deterrence. It wants to have better ICBM defence than the United States.
According to CCTV, together with the 17th satellite launched in March, the two new satellites will test a new type of navigation signalling and inter-satellite links and will provide their services in the BDS at the right time.
Source: CCTV “Successful launch of two new-generation BeiDou Navigation satellites” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
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- Are America’s Long-Range Ballistic Missiles Doomed? (nationalinterest.org)
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- China Launches Two Satellites As It Builds GPS Rival (community.spiceworks.com)
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