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36598004_mChina’s is making a big effort to make its domestically developed global navigation satellite system Beidou  by 2018.

“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.

The Chinese want to become the third country to field a global navigation satellite system by 2012 , 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 2018 or the latest in 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.