Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China

07/31/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/31/2020 03:32

Xi announces completion and commissioning of BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), announced on Friday the completion and commissioning of the BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System (BDS) at a ceremony marking the launching of the system.

Xi and other Chinese leaders attended the ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

At the event, Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of the CMC, read a congratulatory message by the CMC.

A new and updated BeiDou-3 satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province on June 23.

The satellite, carried by a Long March-3B carrier rocket, is the 30th BDS-3 satellite and the 55th in the BeiDou satellite family.

The system will offer high-precision positioning and short message communication, which will bring global navigation satellite systems to new heights.

Three phases of BDS development

Named after the Chinese word for the Big Dipper or Plough constellation, China's BeiDou navigation project was launched in the early 1990s. The system then became operational within China in 2000 and in the Asia-Pacific region in 2012.

With the upgrade of its third-generation satellites, the constellation consisting of 35 satellites is ready to provide global coverage, offering an alternative to Russia's GLONASS and the European Galileo systems, as well as U.S. GPS.

'The main advantage of having your own system is security of access, in the sense that you are not relying on another country to provide it. The U.S. could deny users access over certain areas, for example in times of conflict,' Alexandra Stickings, from the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, told the BBC.

'It could also serve as a back-up if GPS were to go down entirely,' she added.