China Launches 2 More Satellites For Its Beidou GPS System To Compete Against US
Beijing, China -
China has launched two more satellites into space using its Long March-3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest Sichuan province. The two satellites are part of its Beidou GPS system and will join the 11 already in orbit around earth.
There are already enough Beidou GPS satellites in orbit to provide for navigation within China, but the country plans to have a total of 35 in orbit by 2020 giving the system global coverage.
Beidou means Compass in chinese and it meant as an alternative and competing system against the United States' GPS system, and like the US, will provide for both military and civilian use pinpointing a users location to within a few feet.
"The two satellites will help improve the accuracy of the Beidou, or Compass system," Xichang Satellite Launch Centre said in a statement carried by the agency.
China is the third nation behind the US and Russia's Glonass GPS system (GLObal NAvigation Satellite System) to have a working GPS satellite system. The European Space Agency is also building its own satellite navigation system, called Galileo, with two satellites in orbit already and two more planned this year.
So far, only the US has not given its GPS satellite network a name but has 31 GPS satellites in space that are operational, with 36 planned and 4 in reserve, and 10 more being built to upgrade the system to the GPS III standard that was authorized by congress in 2000.
That majority of the world still uses the United States' GPS satellites for various civilian and military use for free.
Only three GPS satellites are needed to determine a location, but four are used in the US GPS system to increase accuracy and to provide elevation and speed for devices capable of computing that information.