News Item

BeiDou benefits

The Director of China's Satellite Navigation Office has invited Asian countries to use its BeiDou GNSS.

He added on 27 December that China's homegrown system would bring untold economic, social and military benefits.

The system - now one-year-old - comprises 14 satellites serving the Asia-Pacific region - but the number of satellites is expected to grow to 30-plus by 2020, giving global coverage.

The Director explains: 'The construction of the Beidou network should resolve the country's security issues, including economic security and the security of society at large; it's obviously a combined military and civilian infrastructure. What purpose it will have for national defence or armament, that's for the armament department or Defense Ministry to consider, but I think that its uses are many'.

Senior Chinese military officers are reported to have said that BeiDou is more important for the country than manned space flight or the Chinese lunar probes now under way; successful deployment of Beidou would mean 'the increasingly potent Chinese armed forces will have an accurate, independent navigation system - vital technology for guiding the missiles, warships and attack aircraft that allow Beijing to claim great power status'.

It is also reported that the government sees BeiDou as a commercial coup for fast-growing market satellite navigation services for cars, mobile phones and other applications - and China is offering the service for free, as is the US GPS.

The China Daily reports that the Chinese Cabinet has approved a blueprint that sees BeiDou taking 60% of a projected 400 billion yuan (~£40, €48, $66 billion) market for satellite navigation services in China, adding that 40% of Beidou's applications would be for military use.

Details from Reuters below.

  • 27 December 2013
  • Space

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