Beidou: China’s own GPS

To decrease the country’s reliance on US satellites, the most populous state in the world has launched their own GPS called Beidou.

As described by China’s official broadcaster, CCTV, Beidou is “independently established and operated by China. It can provide accurate, reliable all-time, all-weather positioning, navigation and timing services.”

According to their website, the satellite navigation system was developed starting in 2000 and is aimed to fully provide service to China and other nearby countries by 2012. Global coverage is targeted by the year 2020.

Beidou, which also means “Big Dipper”, began their trial operations on Tuesday, reports Reuters. Beidou spokesman Ran Chengqi inform also informs Reuters that the country has already launched ten satellites to provide support for the system. Six more satellites as scheduled to be launched next year.

As of press time, Beidou is now offering location and timing, as well as navigation data to the country and neighboring countries.