Beidou: China opens Navigation System for Civilian Use

China recently opened Beidou (its version of GPS or “Global Positioning System”) to civilian use and expects to grab a major share of the satellite navigation market from the original U.S GPS system by the end of the decade, as the website Strategypage reported. Currently China has 14 of 35 Beidou ("Compass") navigation satellites in service. This is sufficient to provide GPS type service for all of China. By the end of the decade all 35 satellites will be up and the entire planet will have access to Beidou.

It was five years ago that China decided to expand its original Beidou 1 satellite navigation system to cover the entire planet and compete with GPS, Galileo, and Glonass. China is using the experience from this earlier Beidou 1 network to build the world-wide "Beidou 2" system.

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