China is set to launch on Tuesday the last satellite of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, touted to be a competitor to the United States Global Position System, to allow global users to access high-accuracy navigation, positioning, timing and communication services.
The satellite will complete the construction of the global constellation, official media here reported on Monday. The Long March-3B carrier rocket, to be used to send the satellite into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre was being loaded with fuel on Monday afternoon.
Some of the countries like Pakistan are using the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS). China is also promoting its use in the countries signed-up for its multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BDS will be the fourth global satellite navigation system after the US' Global Position System (GPS), Russia's GLONASS and the European Union's Galileo.
India too is building its navigational system called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), with an operational name of NAVIC. The latest Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite is the 55th BDS system and will work with other members of the network, allowing global users to access high-accuracy navigation, positioning and timing as well as communication services, official daily Global Times reported.
Compared to previous generation series, the constellation of BDS-3 with an array of 30 satellites flying on three different orbit planes - three at the GEO, three at the inclined geosynchronous orbits, and 24 at the medium Earth orbit - have higher bandwidth. They enable enhanced communication capability and carrying more accurate and stable domestically developed atomic clocks to improve the precision of timing and navigation services, the report said.
The first BeiDou satellite entered orbit in 2,000 and started providing positioning, navigation, timing and messaging services to domestic users in China and users in the Asia-Pacific region in December 2012. The BDS system started providing global services at the end of 2018 when construction of the BDS-3 primary system had been completed. The Tuesday mission will complete the BDS-3 system, which, according to Wu Di, a scholar with the satellite positioning technology centre of Wuhan University, will further enhance the quality of services of the system for global users providing stronger signals.