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China to launch three more satellites for Beidou navigation system

By Deng Li (Guangzhou Daily)

15:17, May 22, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

China will launch three more satellites for its homegrown Beidou satellite navigation system this year, enabling it to provide free passive location, navigation, and timing services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region starting at the end of the year, Ran Chengqi, director of the China Satellite Navigation Office, disclosed on May 16.

China has adopted a three-step strategy in developing the Beidou system. The first step is to build the Beidou Satellite Navigation Experimental System, which made China the third country in the world to own an independent satellite navigation system. The second step is to upgrade the system and expand its coverage to most of the Asia-Pacific region by around 2012. The third step is to expand the system to cover the entire globe.

Homegrown Beidou system to realize more accurate positioning service

The Global Positioning System (GPS), developed by the United States, has become part of the Chinese people's daily lives just like water and electricity, and now holds a 99 percent share of China's satellite navigation market. By contrast, China's homegrown Beidou system is mainly used in areas such as surveying and mapping as well as transportation, and has only less than 1 percent share of its civilian market.

Domestic companies admitted at the third China Satellite Navigation Conference that China's homegrown Beidou system is no rival to the United States' GPS for the time being. However, the Beidou system will own more than 30 satellites by 2020, and provide more accurate positing service to ordinary customers.

Many companies have adopted both Beidou and GPS systems on their navigations devices. For example, a navigation product developed by Desay SV Automotive Company adopts both systems as well as the inertial guidance technology to provide more accurate navigation service. It works better under strong signal conditions than other products that only use GPS.

Read the Chinese version: “北斗”将再发射3颗组网卫星 年底或提供免费服务

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