China implements Beidou navigation satellite system; World’s top 4 navigation systems:GPS, GLONASS & Galileo


China implements Beidou navigation satellite system

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China is implementing the second generation of its navigational satellite system, known as Beidou. The State Council Information Office held a press conference Tuesday to announce its Initial Operational Capability.

Ran Chengqi, the Director of the China Satellite Navigation Office introduced China’s global navigation satellite system. Beidou is independently established and operated by China. It can provide accurate, reliable all-time, all-weather positioning, navigation and timing services.

The State Council Information Office held a press conference Tuesday to announce its
Initial Operational Capability.

Ran says there are three steps in Beidou’s development. Ran Chengqi, director of China Navigation Satellite Office, said, “The first step was achieved in 2000 when the Beidou satellite demonstration system was established. It made China the third in the world to possess its own independent navigation satellite system. The second step is that the system will be able to provide services to the Asia-Pacific region by 2012. The third step is that by the year 2020, the system will be completed with global coverage.”

China is implementing the second generation of its navigational satellite system,
known as Beidou.

So far, ten satellites have been launched, forming the basic system. Ran Chengqi announced that from now on, Beidou will officially provide Initial Operational Service to China and its surrounding areas. Services include continuous positioning, navigation and timing.

Beidou is one of the four satellite navigation systems in the world. The other three are America’s GPS. Russia’s GLONASS, and Europe’s Galileo.

World’s top 4 navigation systems

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Besides China’s Beidou, there are three similar services around the world: the GPS of the US, the Russian Glonass and the EU’s Galileo.

The Global Positioning System, or GPS, was developed by the US in the 1970s and completed in 1994. It is the most widely used navigation system now. GPS provides location and time information in any weather, anywhere on or near Earth. GPS was originally run with 24 satellites, and four backup satellites have since been added. The system provides two types of signals, one for military use and the other, civil.

Russia’s GLONASS – or Global Navigation Satellite System developed since 1976, had achieved full coverage of Russian territory by 2010. Now the total number of satellites in orbit is 28, among them, 23 are in operation, 3 are under maintenance, and 2 are being tested. Though its precision is a little less than GPS, it is a strong performer with few operational interruption.

The European Union’s satellite navigation system is known as Galileo. It is the first navigation system to focus on civilian use, and aims to provide high-precision positioning services for European nations. Galileo is formed of 32 satellites and two ground operations centres. Compared with GPS, its precision level is ten times higher.

China has now developed the Beidou Satellite Navigation System, which can operate unmanned. It includes five static and 30 non-static satellites, and its locating precision reaches ten metres. It not only provides navigation, location and timing services, but also a communication service. Compared with the other systems, Beidou has a much stronger location performance.

As the Beidou Satellite Navigation System is further developed, China is now applying the system to more areas, such as the transportation of dangerous items, postal services and even car rental.

Navigation systems: GPS, GLONASS & Galileo

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Besides Beidou, there are three other satellite navigation systems in the world. They are the GPS of the United States, GLONASS of Russia, and GALILEO of the European Union.

GPS, or the Global Positioning System, was developed by the US in 1970s. It provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth.

GPS was originally run with 24 satellites, and four backup satellites have been added. GPS provides two types of signals, one for military use and the other civil.

GLONASS, the Global Navigation Satellite System, is a radio-based satellite navigation system developed by Russia starting from 1976. By 2010, GLONASS had achieved 100 percent coverage of Russia’s territory. In October 2011, the full orbital constellation of 24 satellites was restored, enabling full global coverage. It displays high-level performance in avoiding interruptions.

Galileo is a satellite navigation system developed by the Europeans. It is the first civil use oriented navigation system and aims to provide a high-precision positioning service for European nations. Galileo is formed of 32 satellites and two ground operations centers. Compared with GPS, its precision level is ten times higher.

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