With the launch of the first of four Beidou-2 satellites by September, China will begin to establish a regional satellite-navigation system to be ready by 2010.

The Beidou constellation in geostationary orbit is set to provide a precision positioning service in the Asia-Pacific region, while in other areas of the world its accuracy will be significantly lower.

China is also participating in the EU’s Galileo project. Beidou-2 follows China’s first-generation satellite navigation system, completed in 2003, and will be interoperable with the original Beidou-1 satellites. Ultimately, the second-generation system will consist of the four GEO satellites, plus 12 inclined geosynchronous-orbit spacecraft and nine satellites in a 22,000km (13,700-mile) medium Earth orbit.

China has applied to the International Telecommunication Union for Beidou-2 GEO slots at 58.75°E, 80°E, 110.5°E and 140°E and registered the system under the name Compass.


Source: Flight International