Two BeiDou-3navigation satellites were launched by using a Long March-3B rocket in Xichang Satellite Launch Center, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, on Nov. 5.
The successful launch of the first third-generation BeiDou satellites will allow the BeiDou system to self-monitor in orbit, the first navigation and positioning satellites to do so in the world, Xinhua reports.
The mission aim will be to provide not only an inter-satellite link among all Chinese satellites in space, but also with ground stations. The networking of the satellites is a big step forward for China, which lacks ground stations outside of its borders, to form its comprehensive aerospace-based information network, said Zhang Lixin, deputy chief engineer of BeiDou at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
Even if all ground stations were to malfunction at the same time, the networked BeiDou satellites can still provide reliable navigation and positioning services for the customers, he added.
China is expected to put 18 BeiDou satellites in space by next year, providing basic navigation and positioning services for countries along the Belt and Road routes.
Since the first BeiDou satellite was launched in October, 2000, the BeiDou navigation and positioning system has expanded from a regional system to a global one that can provide various kinds of services, including weather forecasts to maritime alerts.
Apart from surveying and mapping, as well disaster relief, the high-precision positioning function of the BeiDou system is being used in people’s everyday lives, municipal engineering and public services in more than 400 cities in China.
Yu Xiancheng, chairman of GNSS and LBS Association of China, said that BeiDou system’s services effectively advance the improvement of the infrastructure facilities of smart cities. The fast development of the shared bikes business-model is a case in point. The high-precision positioning function of BeiDou significantly reduces the management costs of the large number of shared bikes.
The BeiDou satellite system now covers nearly 30 countries along the Belt and Road routes, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and Indonesia.
In Pakistan, the authorities use it in transport and port administration; Myanmar uses it in land planning and channel supervision; Laos relies on it for precision agriculture; Brunei uses it in smart city construction and tourism; and Indonesia finds it useful at sea.
China is engaged in exchanges and cooperation with Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia related to BeiDou, and is drafting a cooperation plan with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. China has built small-scale BeiDou strengthening system networks in Thailand.