Monday, January 19, 2009

China to have global satellite navigation system by 2015

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- China plans to complete its independent global satellite navigation system by launching about 30 more orbiters before 2015, a space technology official said Sunday.

China plans to send 10 navigation satellites into the space in 2009 and 2010, said Zhang Xiaojin, director of astronautics department with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) told China Central Television (CCTV).

The plan is to establish a global navigation system consisting of more than 30 satellites by the year of 2015. The system will shake off the dependence on foreign systems, Zhang said.

U.S.'s GPS has been widely used for commercial navigation in vehicles, cell phones and other civilian devices in China. Chinese civilian and military users could be guided by their own satellites worldwide after the Beidou becomes the world's fourth edition of global navigation systems.

China launched the first satellite, Beidou Navigation System, into geostationary orbit in Oct. 2000, in an effort to build up its own positioning system independent from the U.S.'s Global Positioning System (GPS), E.U.'s Galileo Positioning System and Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS).

China has sent five positioning orbiters into the space. The current Beidou system only provides regional navigation service within China's territory.

Since Beidou's fifth orbiter launched in April 2007, China has started to upgrade the navigation system to the second generation, code named COMPASS.

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