Beidou positioned to provide global coverage
China continues to build and improve the domestically developed Beidou Navigation Satellite System.
It is one of the nation’s largest space programs and the fourth space-based navigation system in the world, following GPS in the United States, GLONASS in Russia and the European Union’s Galileo system.
In December 2012, the system began providing positioning, navigation, timing and messaging services to civilian users in China and parts of the AsiaPacific region.
On Feb 12, the fifth and sixth third-generation Beidou satellites were sent into space atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province. They will operate for at least 12 years in space, according to the China Satellite Navigation Office.
Since 2000, when the first Beidou satellite was placed in orbit, 33 satellites have been launched for the network. China plans to place 18 third-generation Beidou satellites in space before the end of the year. They will work with earlier-generation models to provide services for all the nations involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.