China Launches Final Satellite to Complete Beidou Navigation System

China on Tuesday successfully launched last and final satellite for Beidou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), an array of 30 satellites aimed at providing services to global users.

The domestically developed satellite was fueled up and lifted to a geostationary orbit from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province by a Long March-3B carrier rocket at 9:43 a.m. BJT (0143 GMT) on Tuesday. It has been resting in the center for about two months.

When fully completed, the system will offer its users services including high-precision positioning and short message communication, which will bring new highlights to global navigation satellite systems, Ran Chengqi, director general of the China Satellite Navigation Office told a group of media including APP which visited the launch center.

He said, prior to the launch, the spacecraft, the 59th in the Beidou family and 30th in the third-generation series, had undergone technical checks, propellant injection and pre-launch setting at the launch center.

Once the spacecraft commences formal operation, it will work with other Beidou satellites and together they will allow users around the globe to access high-accuracy navigation, positioning and timing services.

The move marked the completion of Beidou, the country’s largest space-based system and one of the four global navigation networks, along with the United States’ GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo.

RAN said, the satellite, which was transported to the Xichang center on April 4, was designed and made by the China Academy of Space Technology, a subsidiary of the State-owned space conglomerate China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

Beidou began providing positioning, navigation, timing and messaging services to civilian users in China and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region in December 2012. At the end of 2018, Beidou started to provide global services.

According to statistics from the Global Navigation Satellite System and Location-Based Services Association of China, Beidou has been used in dozens of business and public sectors in China, such as transportation, electric power, fisheries, mining and agriculture, and dozens of millions of Beidou-based terminal devices have been sold and are in use.

He said, the services provided by the Beidou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) are wide-ranging and will benefit the world through more international cooperation.

The BDS services are used in various fields including transportation, agriculture, fishing, disaster reduction and relief. The services are available in more than 70 percent of smartphones in China, making people’s lives smarter and more convenient, he added.

He informed that enterprises of over 200 countries have so far applied for BDS based technology. The products manufactured by the Chinese companies are being exported to over 100 countries.

“The users of the countries along the Belt and Road region will be our target and we will provide our service to South East Asia, South Asia and African,” he added.

Over half of the countries in the world including Pakistan are using the BDS services. With completion of the global system, the BDS now can provide satisfactory services to every corner of the world.

It may be mentioned that Pakistan was among the first countries to use China’s Beidou satellite navigation system

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