China yesterday moved a step closer to having its own global navigation system, with the launch of two new satellites for its Beidou program.
The launch takes China’s deployment to 13 of the 35 birds planned for the Beidou constellation, with the remainder due to be in orbit by 2020. The Beidou system is being designed to help China reduce its reliance on the US GPS satellite system. It, too, has been designed both military and civilian use, and is currently partially operational.
China is now one of just three countries to have their own global navigation system after the US and Russia with its GLONASS system, the BBC reports
But the European Union is also deploying its own system – Galileo - and launched two of the system’s satellites in October last year.