With the launch of two new Beidou-3 satellites for the homegrown Beidou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) on November 19, China will have completed its basic navigation system and start to provide services for countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative by the end of the year.
“This is a key step for the
BDS developing from a domestic Chinese system to a regional and then a global system,” said Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the system.
China plans to launch another 11 Beidou-3 satellites in the coming two years. By the end of 2020, the BDS, named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper constellation, will go global and provide high-precision, reliable positioning, navigation and timing services anywhere in the world.
“China developed the BDS through a unique technological approach, contributing Chinese wisdom to the theory and construction of international satellite navigation systems,” said Xie Jun, deputy chief designer of the BDS.
A total of 18 BDS satellites have been sent into space from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province in 2018.
“This year has seen the most intensive launch of BDS satellites. We improved our work efficiency by reforming the management process. The number of satellite staff at the launch center has been reduced by nearly half, and the testing time before launch has been shortened by nearly a third,” Chi Jun said, head of the Beidou-3 satellite team from the China Academy of Space Technology.