BEIJING – Beidou, a Chinese version of the American global positioning system (GPS), began its global services on Thursday, according to the China Satellite Navigation Office.
Construction of Beidou’s third generation constellation system has concluded, enabling the space-based network to provide reliable global positioning, navigation, and timing services with high accuracy, said the Office’s Director Ran Chengqi in a press conference cited by state-run China Daily.
This marks Beidou’s transition for its “regional” to its “global era,” Ran said.
The system has been in place in China and other parts of Asia-Pacific since December 2012. It has a 5-meter margin of error in these areas and a 10-meter margin at a global level.
China has 33 operational Beidou satellites, comprising 18 third generation, and 15 second generation ones.
It plans to add 11 third and one second generation satellites.
China began building its own satellite based navigation system in 2000 to end its dependency on the American GPS.
The name Beidou was inspired by the ancient Chinese astronomers’ term for the seven brightest stars of the Ursa Major constellation.
Beidou is one of the four space-based navigation networks along with the United States’ GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and European Union’s Galileo, China Daily reported.