Friday, December 27, 2013

Studio interview: BeiDou expected to serve global customers in 2020

Today marks the first anniversary of China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System offering services to the public in Asia. A spokesman of the rival to GPS says the system has been performing well, and its service will expand in the future.

For more in-depth analysis, joining us in the studio is Mr Shen Jun, the chief scientist of Beidou Navigation Science and Technology Corporation, and Ms Tian Miao, an engineer from the international cooperation center of China Satellite Navigation office. Welcome.
Q1, Ms Tian, let me start with you. Can you tell us more about what is Beidou capable of at the moment?
Q2, Besides GPS, Beidou also faces competition from the EU’s Galileo network and Russian Glonass system. How is Beidou different from its alternatives?
Q3, In terms of international cooperation, what can be expected in the coming years?
Q4, As we heard earlier, Beidou is expected to offer global services in 2020. Please tell us more about that.



  1. Thailand to become first overseas user of Beidou....

    Thailand is set to become the first foreign country to operate China’s Beidou satellite navigation system. China has been developing Beidou to rival the dominance of America’s Global Positioning System, or GPS. Thirty-five satellites will be in orbit by the year 2020 to have the second generation of the system completed. Despite only going live last year, Beidou has already attracted the interest of clients from around the world.

    This is Thailand’s Space Technology Development Agency, 150 kilometres from Bangkok. It’s the country’s ground station for communicating with satellites in orbit.

    Construction is underway here of new buildings to house the engineers and technicians who will operate the Beidou satellite navigation system in Thailand.

    Beidou is China’s home-grown rival to the American network, GPS. As well as satellite imagery, Beidou will have mapping, weather and communications capabilities.

    "The Beidou system is coming up after the GPS by almost 20 years so I believe the accuracy of the system should be higher with new-generation electronics, maybe up to 10 times better," said Ravit Sachasiri, ground system admin. at the Space Technology Agency.

    Thailand is the first country outside China to sign up to Beidou. When devastating floods hit Thailand 18 months ago, satellite images were used to predict which areas would be worst affected.

    When Beidou is operational later in the year, much greater detail will be available to emergency planners. And Beidouwas used by China’s security forces to track and locate the drug lord Naw Kham, who was responsible for the murder of 13 Chinese sailors in northern Thailand.

    "GPS is established worldwide and it’s a leading system, and it’s used in cars, in trucks and on mobile phones. Every mobile phone now must have a GPS system. But with China now entering the world of the GNSS system, they are also manufacturing hardware and software, so it will give them room for the industry and the government to showcase they can produce high-end technology," Sachasiri said.

    China has developed Beidou to end its reliance on the GPS system, for both civil and military use. It’s meeting much of the 320 million dollar cost of establishing Beidou in Thailand.

    Thailand’s adoption of the Beidou network is an important step for China. If the system is seen to be successful here, China hopes other countries will follow Thailand’s lead.

    Two nations, Laos and Brunei, have signed agreements to research the system. Beidou is at an early stage, with little market penetration yet, even in China. At present, it maps countries in the Asia-Pacific region, but it will cover the globe by the end of the decade.

    Thailand will not abandon GPS but will use both systems side-by-side, for enhanced accuracy and as back-up should either be unavailable.

  2. China to strengthen its own GPS system....

    After a year in orbit, China’s homegrown Beidou system is offering greater precision in positioning services. The country also plans to launch more satellites in 2014 to build its own global system.

    China’s homegrown Beidou system is ready to compete with GPS.

    After being put into commercial use late last year, the system has improved its positioning accuracy to five to seven meters in ASEAN countries and parts of China, and ten meters elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region. An industry around Beidou Navigation is taking shape, with the technologies being applied to wider civilian use --- transport, fishing, weather forecasting, disaster relief and more.

    Beidou is also the first system in the world to transmit signals through two frequencies for civilian use.

    "Two frequencies promise greater precision in positioning and navigation. In the future, the system could be used in agriculture, earthquake detection to generate more benefits. In the meantime we also released a performance standard to promise greater accuracy and reliability by the system," said Ran Chengqi, Spokesman of Beidou Navigation Satellite System.

    The Beidou satellite navigation system is already in extensive use in transport. About 80 percent of passenger and tour buses, heavy duty trucks and trailers use the system.

    The system also offers navigation for marine fisheries and helps fishermen at sea keep in touch with their families with its short messaging services.

    Ran says Beidou is also compatible with the US’s GPS, Europe’s Galileo, and Russia’s Glonass satellites.....................


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