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Chinese GNSS Beidou operational now

China: China’s global navigation satellite system (GNSS) Beidou is operational now. Beidou now offers location, timing and navigation data to China and surrounding areas, announced the project’s spokesman Ran Cheng.
China has been working on the system since 2000 to provide an alternative to the US government-run Global Positioning System (GPS). The move aims to make China’s military less dependent on foreign technology.
At present, there are ten navigation satellites in Beidou’s network. And, six more satellites are scheduled to be launched in 2012 to extend the reach of the system to most parts of Asia. In total, Beidou will be the constellation of 35 navigation satellites, offering global coverage by 2020.
According to the report, interested parties are invited to study a test version of the project’s Interface Control Document which has been placed online.
More about Beidou:Beidou – which translates as the Big Dipper – promises to offer civilian users positioning information correct to the nearest 10 metres, measure speeds within 0.2 metres per second and provide clock synchronisation signals accurate to 0.02 millionths of a second. The Chinese military will be able to obtain more accurate data.
A 2004 study by Geoffrey Forden, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, suggested that Beidou could be used to target cruise missiles against Taiwan if a war broke out over the territory. Having its own system would protect China against the risk that the US could turn GPS off.
A 2011 report for the website defensepolicy.org suggested the network could also be used to guide drones to destroy foreign naval forces were China to come under attack.
According to a report published in China Daily, the system will create a 400 billion yuan (USD 63.2bn, GBP 40.4bn) market in related applications for the automotive, telecommunications, fishing and other industries by 2020.
Source: BBC