China's BeiDou officially goes global
Xinhua News Service - China has finally unveiled its own Navigation Satellite System to compete with the American Global Positioning System(GPS) and European Galileo system.
Xinhua news reported China sent two new satellites into space on a Long March-3B rocket from their Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan province.
With these two satellites, China announced that the BeiDou-3 primary system (BDS) was completed and would start to provide global services.
Up to now, the home-grown BDS has been performing well in the Asia-Pacific region.
China started constructing the satellite constellation of BeiDou-3, the latest generation of the BDS, in November 2017 and completed it this past November.
Xie Jun, deputy chief designer of the system, said the goal of of BeiDou-3 is to provide services comparable to those of the third generation of the Global Positioning System(GPS) and European Galileo system, thus, offering the world a third alternative.
"We have seen great potential in the BeiDou system," said Sabira Khatun, a professor who specializes in electronics engineering at Universiti Malaysia Pahang, emphasizing that the system has brought opportunities for academic cooperation on navigation between Malaysia and China.
In recent years, the BDS's pace of globalization has been quickening. At the sixth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in 2014, the application of the BDS in Arab countries was first discussed.
In May 2015, China and Russia signed the BeiDou-Glonass system compatibility and interoperability cooperation agreement. In April 2018, the China-Arab States BDS/GNSS Center, the first overseas centre for China's indigenous BDS, was officially inaugurated in Tunisia.
"The next step of the China-Arab cooperation is to achieve further connectivity so both sides can apply the BDS to promote regional technological and economic development," Amor added.
Shen Jun, deputy director of the International Cooperation Center of the China Satellite Navigation Office, said the China-Russia Commission on Important Strategic Satellite Navigation Cooperation was established to continuously coordinate and promote bilateral cooperation in satellite navigation.
Cooperative projects between China and Russia include the development of chips for satellite navigation applications and autonomous vehicles in agriculture, Shen added.
This year has seen an intensive launch of BeiDou satellites. By 2020, when the BeiDou system completes its global network, it will have more than 30 satellites.
All countries around the world, especially developing ones, will enjoy free positioning and navigation services provided by the BDS, which Amor said, "will benefit the development of production and transportation in these countries."