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BeiDou Navigation Satellite System

Updated at 29 Nov, 2021

— The BeiDou navigation satellite system is owned and operated by the Chinese government and is used for millitary and commercial use. Discover more.

BeiDou Navigation Satellite System
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BeiDou navigation satellite system is commonly compared to the U.S. GPS. Many experts say that it might be able to provide better and more accurate data than GPS in a couple of years. It seems like the navigation system is improving rapidly and will compete with GPS. The main focus of BeiDou is to improve the accuracy and speed.

Read More: GPS, GLONASS, GNSS and Galileo GPS

What is BeiDou?

BeiDou is a Chinese satellite navigation system that consists of two satellite constellations and 35 satellites in total. Its first launch was in October 2000 and last launch in June 2020 with a total number of 59 launches.

The accuracy of BeiDou is 3.6 m for public, 2.6 m for Asia Pacific and 10 cm for encrypted users. It currently offers more satellites in orbit than any other navigation satellite system out there. This means that it should provide better and more accurate data than GPS, GLONASS or Galileo.

BeiDou satellite orbiting around earth

Key findings of BeiDou navigation system

Chinese satellite navigation system

Consists of 35 satellites in total

Huge potential in the future





How does BeiDou work?

As any other navigation satellite system, BeiDou consists of several satellites (35 satellites) circling Earth to provide accurate information 24/7. The signal from the satellite transmits to the ground stations on Earth and to the receivers´, and the other way around.

Nowadays, the technology is so advanced that it will take a couple of seconds or even milliseconds to detect your or the object’s exact location. It is forecasted that the information will be more accurate and faster in the future, which most likely means more satellites orbiting around Earth.

For a more in-depth explanation, watch the video below about BeiDou navigation satellite system.

It all started in 2000. Within 2000 and 2003, China had experimental BeiDou navigation system consisting of three satellites. By the end of 2012, BeiDou system became regional by covering China and neighboring regions. In 2020, BeiDou became global navigation system offering 35 satellites in total.

Before completing the final launch, China had been struggling with the development and noticed the power of U. S’s GPS. Therefore, China joined forces with Galileo GPS to improve the process. However, after a short while, other countries such as India and South Koreas joined, and several other countries such as Russia, Canada, Japan and Australia showed an interest to join. China didn’t like that and stopped the cooperation with Galileo and decided to go on their own.

The progress of the navigation system was pretty fast and efficient, despite several failures. BeiDou seems to be very promising and a big risk to other navigation systems.

Article by

Dragoş Ionescu

Software Developer / Support

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