China debuts its own GPS system

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beidou chinese satellite
Chinese space programme workers busy at the launch site of Beidou. Photo - Beidou.gov.cn

China’s ambitious space programme received another major boost when the emerging space power started trial operations of Beidou, its indigenous satellite navigation and positioning services on Tuesday.

The Chinese efforts are seen as a drive towards ending its reliance on the US global positioning system in 2000 after sending its own pair of positioning satellites into orbit.

Reuters quoted Ran Chengqi, spokesman for Beidou, or “Big Dipper”, would cover most parts of the Asia Pacific by next year and then rest of the world by 2020.

Chinese state agency said another six satellites would be launched into the space by next year while 10 satellites are already orbiting in the space. State media reports added that the satellite constellation would comprise of 35 satellites which will enhance China’s telecommunications, meteorology and a host of other sectors like farming, fishing and mining.

Beijing has unveiled ambitious plans of building a space station and sending a manned trip to the moon in near future. Some space experts reckon China wants to counter the USA in space technology and use it to benefit its military with live information from satellites.

China surprised the world when it successfully destroyed an old satellite in early 2007 with great precision, something only Western powers had performed before. It also successfully tested technology that destroys missiles in mid-air.

(By Moign Khawaja)

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