China is ready to incorporate BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), its indigenous satellite navigation system to strengthen China’s military and political aspirations.
China’s BDS satellite is the world’s fourth global satellite navigation system is equivalent to the US’ Global Positioning System (GPS). Other systems are Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo. India too is developing its own navigational system called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), with an operational name of NAVIC.
“BDS’s implementation will not only reduce the dependence of Chinese aircraft, vehicles, and anti-missile systems on GPS and GLONASS but also enhance People’s Liberation Army capabilities in conducting overseas operations”, said a source, working with Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s national cryptologic agency.
China has already pushed a mandatory implementation of BDS systems in the country’s local vehicles. It also introduced BDS systems in individual equipment, ships, aircraft, and missiles.
”The BDS has both civilians and military applications. For civilian applications, the system is extensively used in fishery administration, communication and transportation as well as disaster relief. To promote security in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, China has made it mandatory for all vehicles in Xinjiang to install the Beidou Satellite Navigation System. In addition, most mainland Chinese mobiles also adopt BDS,” the source said.
”BeiDou Navigation Satellite System started provided independent navigation services over China in 2000 and will serve many countries along Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Currently, BDS covers nearly 30 countries including Pakistan, Egypt, and Indonesia,” the source added.
Named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper, the BeiDou system started serving China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2012.
China has already launched two more satellites into space on a Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan Province. The satellites will operate with 17 other BDS-3 satellites already in space.
By the end of 2018, there were a total of 33 BDS satellites operating in orbit for BeiDou, including 15 BDS-2 satellites and 18 BDS-3 satellites.
China intends to launch another 11 BDS-3 satellites and one BDS-2 satellite in the coming two years to form a complete global network. By 2020, when the BeiDou system goes global, it will have more than 30 satellites in space.
“More than 14,000 companies and organisations are doing business related to BDS, employing over 500,000 people,” the source said. China is ranked the world’s number one, in terms of patent applications.
In China, about 6.17 million vehicles, 35,600 postal and express delivery vehicles, as well as 80,000 buses in 36 major cities, use BDS. The system is also used in 3,230 inland river navigation facilities and 2,960 marine navigation facilities.
China has also pushed for BDS’ compatibility with other global navigation satellite systems. It has also established its first overseas center in Tunisia with a map-based app on the BDS to promote its applications globally.
China’s space effort is managed by the People’s Liberation Army, currently launches more rockets into space than any other country. Previously, it landed a space rover on the dark side of the Moon – a first by any country – and plans to build an orbiting space station in the coming decade.
China started building BeiDou Navigation Satellite System in 2013 to accurately position itself in its provinces as well as in Pakistan and other ASEAN nations.
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