According to China Compass navigation system official site, China launched its fourth satellite of Compass navigation system (BeiDou-2) successfully at 23:53 last night, an important move toward the completion of the world’s fourth independent GPS navigation system.
China set up its first BeiDou-1 navigation system by 2003 which consists three BeiDou experimental satellites, it covers China and its laboring countries. The completion of BeiDou1 navigation system makes China the world’s third country which owns an independent GPS navigation system, the other two is US and Russian.
China sent its first satellite of BeiDou-2 (Compass) navigation system into space in 2007, the second and third in 2009 and 2010. Its aim is to have around 10 satellites orbiting the earth in 2012 which covers the Asia-Pacific area and provides locating, timing and short message communication service to domestic and abroad customers.
Compared to US GPS system, Compass mainly covers China and Asia-Pacific area although its final goal is to set up 35 satellites covering the whole global. And its less accurate, the accuracy is 10 meters, and speed is 0.2 meter/second for normal users.
All in all, the feature of Compass navigation system is simpler, less satellites, low cost, less accurate and has short message communication model (120 Chinese characters at most per time).
Update, China launched its seventh Beidou navigation satellites last December. And there are still a few satellites to be launched this year. The Compass Navigation System will cover the Asia-Pacific areas tomorrow and open for public uses, the chip cost is said to be lower than that of GPS, so the overall price of a navigation device might be lower. In addition to navigation capabilities, Beidou satellite system is capable of sending and receiving messages.
It seems China is progressing rapidly on its own navigation system, meanwhile, GALILEO satellite navigation system developed by EU countries is in trouble. Hopefully the Chinese drivers will have another alternative in addition to GPS the next year. Anyway, let’s wait and see.
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Update, China shot the eighth Beidou satellite into the sky successfully on 10th April, its launch means China’s regional satellite navigation system was completed.