China will operate its Own Global Navigation System by 2020

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China GPSChina’s domestically developed global navigation satellite system Beidou will be fully operational by 2020, Xinhua news agency reported last week, citing the head of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

“The system’s completion will help nurture a satellite navigation industry chain, producing economic and social benefits in diversified fields, including mapping, telecommunications and disaster relief,” Lei Fanpei, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

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According to GPS Daily, by the beginning of the next decade, China will become the third country to field a global navigation satellite system, after the United States and Russia, Lei said.

According to Xinhua, BeiDou currently has a constellation of 20 satellites orbiting the Earth, aiming to increase its number to 35 by 2020.

The Glonass project, considered to be Russia’s answer to Washington’s GPS (Global Positioning System), was launched in 1993.

The Glonass network currently consists of 29 satellites, 24 of which are operational, allowing real-time positioning and speed data for surface, sea and airborne objects around the globe.