BeiDou will boost satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion ser­vices

China Daily European Weekly - - BUSINESS - By MA SI masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Mem­bers of the Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion are boost­ing ties in satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion ser­vices, as China’s home­grown BeiDou Nav­i­ga­tion Satel­lite Sys­tem is set to achieve global cov­er­age by 2020.

With steady progress in the ac­cu­racy of lo­ca­tion de­tec­tion, BeiDou is in­creas­ingly be­ing used in Pak­istan. China and Rus­sia have also signed a deal on the com­pat­i­bil­ity and in­ter­op­er­abil­ity of BeiDou and the lat­ter’s GLONASS sys­tem, which en­ables users of either of the sys­tems to use the other with­out much ex­tra cost.

Such progress dove­tails with China’s plan to build a BeiDou nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem with a con­stel­la­tion of 35 satel­lites by 2020. In com­par­i­son, the United States’ GPS con­sists of 24 satel­lites.

“The glob­al­iza­tion era for BeiDou is com­ing. BeiDou will be­come an­other high-tech name card for China, just like high-speed rail­ways,” says Miao Qian­jun, for­mer sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Global Nav­i­ga­tion Satel­lite Sys­tem and Lo­ca­tionBased Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion of China.

Eco­nomic ties be­tween China and other SCO mem­bers lay a foun­da­tion for co­op­er­a­tion on satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion ser­vices, Miao says.

How­ever, Sun Ji­adong, an aca­demi­cian at the Chi­nese Acad­emy of Sciences and for­mer chief de­signer of the BeiDou sys­tem, says more ef­forts are needed to ex­per­i­ment with cre­ative ap­pli­ca­tions in the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

“Do­mes­tic tri­als are check­ing for pos­si­ble ap­pli­ca­tions in for­eign coun­tries. The glob­al­iza­tion boom for BeiDou will come around 2021, but we need to start as soon as pos­si­ble,” Sun says.

Since 2000, when the first BeiDou satel­lite was put in space, 33 satel­lites have been launched for the net­work. The sys­tem be­gan pro­vid­ing po­si­tion­ing, nav­i­ga­tion, tim­ing and mes­sage ser­vices to civil­ian users in China and parts of the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion in De­cem­ber 2012.

By the end of this year, 18 third­gen­er­a­tion BeiDou satel­lites will have been placed into or­bit, and they will work with the ear­lier gen­er­a­tions to cover all na­tions in­volved in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, ac­cord­ing to the China Satel­lite Nav­i­ga­tion Of­fice.

By now, BeiDou has cov­ered nearly 30 coun­tries and re­gions in­volved in the ini­tia­tive, in­clud­ing Pak­istan, Egypt and In­done­sia. The satel­lite sys­tem has also been rec­og­nized by the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­ga­ni­za­tion and the In­ter­na­tional Satel­lite Sys­tem for Search and Res­cue, in­creas­ing its ap­peal in the global arena.

Such wider cov­er­age is al­ready en­abling pop­u­lar ap­pli­ca­tions. For in­stance, BeiDou is be­ing used in Pak­istan to as­sist city plan­ning and traf­fic man­age­ment. China and Rus­sia have also set up a joint plat­form to mon­i­tor satel­lite nav­i­ga­tions af­ter the two coun­tries signed a co­op­er­a­tion deal in Oc­to­ber 2017.

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