Yesterday, January 18, 2009, Reuters India reported from Beijing, China that over the past weekend China launched the third BeiDou (Big Dipper) or Compass satellite in an effort to build its own global satellite positioning (GPS) system. This latest satellite is part of a proposed constellation of 35 Chinese GPS satellites to be in orbit by the year 2020.
China is competing in space with the United States and Russia, and in addition to these BeiDou or COMPASS satellites also has plans to land on the Moon in 2012. While this instills a great deal of national pride within China, and is increasing the prominence of China in the space arena, this initiative and the overall China space program has alarmed some western counterparts. Within the region, rival India, in response to China's space ambitions, is now working to increase India's space program.
As reported, the China BeiDou or COMPASS GPS network will provide the following services:
- Navigation for the Asia-Pacific region by 2012.
- Global navigation coverage by 2020.
- Communication services.
- Military uses, such as tracking foreign ships at sea, with regional implications should a war break out with neighboring Taiwan.
- Provides both Open and Authorized services.
- Velocity and Timing Data.
- For use in the Transportation industry.
- For use in the Petroleum industry.
According to China Daily, China's Global Newspaper:
"The network will have five satellites in geostationary orbit and another 30 in non-geostationary orbits, according to a plan for the COMPASS system."
This YouTube news video, in English, is of the April 15, 2009 launching of the second BeiDou or Compass satellite:
This YouTube news video, in Chinese, is of the January 17, 2010 launching of the second BeiDou or Compass satellite:
You can visit the new Beidou website (in Chinese) to learn more.
Follow this link to the original Reuters India article ==>>Reuters India
Follow this link to the China Daily article==>>China Daily