China launched a BeiDou satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre at 1955 local (1155 UTC) on 9 March.
This 54th BeiDou (BDS) satellite, launched by a March-3B carrier rocket into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, will use its own propulsion to obtain a geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO) at ~22,000 miles (~36,000 km).
The current BDS-3 should provide services worldwide during 2020, with a constellation of 27 medium earth orbit (MEO), 5 GEO and 3 inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO) satellites. This should provide global navigation services similar to GPS, GLONASS and Galileo.
The worldwide BDS-3 will use, amongst other transmissions, a frequency of 1575.42 MHz - the same as GPS L1 and Galileo E1 civil signals; and it will use multiplexed binary offset carrier (MBOC) modulation, similar to the future GPS L1C and Galileo’s E1.
A final single launch in May should complete the constellation and enable BDS to become worldwide.