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China Launches “New Generation” Satellite for BeiDou GPS


China Books a Spot in History

China launches its new generation satellite belonging to a series of satellites in the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. BeiDou is an indigenous navigation system that is developed as a counterpart to the American GPS system.

The 30th of March, 2015 was marked by the launch of BeiDou’s 17th satellite. The launch took place at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the south-western province of Sichuan. The aim of this satellite launch was to expand the regional outreach of the BDS and make it a global phenomenon.

BeiDou Navigational System

The system was developed for the purpose of addressing both the civilian and military needs. The development of these systems opens up new opportunities when it comes to vehicle tracking especially in the field of school bus tracking. With proper development and maintenance, BeiDou can help replace the use of GPS in school bus tracking system.

The First of the BDS satellite was launched in 2000 with the view of creating a new GPS system. Consisting of three satellites and a limited coverage and applications, this satellite was officially called the BeiDou Satellite Navigation Experimental System and also known as BeiDou-1. The purpose of BeiDou was to be the Chinese counterpart to the American NAVSTAR and Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System.

The satellite was boosted by a long march-3C carrier rocket developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. BDS started providing positioning, SMS, timing, and navigation to its civilian users both in China and the surrounding area in the Asia-Pacific from December 2012. At this stage, around 16 satellites were operational with 14 of them in service

BeiDou Satellite Navigation System (BDS), also known as COMPASS or BeiDou-2 is the second generation of the system which is a global satellite navigation system consisting of 35 satellites. The construction began in January 2013. The first stage of this system became operational in China on December 2011, with the use of around 10 satellites.

The introduction of this satellite system helped China to reduce its dependence on America’s GPS especially when it came to defense related operations. The newly launched satellite was tasked with the testing of a new kind of navigational signaling and inter-satellite links. The satellite also provides a base to start building the global network.

An independent aircraft was installed on the carrier rocket making this the first time China has used such a technology. This independent aircraft which is dubbed as a satellite bus in space has the capability of sending one or more spacecraft into different orbits.

Even at this early stage, this technology is being used in transportation, school bus trackers, weather forecasting, marine fishing industry, forestry and even in telecommunication. The emergence of the Beidou Navigational System is sure to make a huge impact in the technology market.

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