BeiDou Navigation System

BeiDou Navigation System (BNS):

  • China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has started offering global service.
  • It is seen as rival to the US’s Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • BeiDou-1 consisted of three satellites and was offering navigation services mainly in China and neighbouring regions.  It was decommissioned in 2012.
  • The second generation of the navigation system, BeiDou-2 became operational in China in December 2011 with a partial constellation of 10 satellites in orbit and started providing services in the Asia-Pacific region from December 2012.
  • The third generation of the navigation system, BeiDou-3 began to provide global services from 27th December 2018.
  • China plans to have a total of 33  satellites operating in orbit for BeiDou by the end of 2018 which includes 15 BeiDou-2 satellites and 18 BeiDou-3 satellites.
  • China further plans to launch another 11 BeiDou-3 satellites and one BeiDou-2 satellite in the coming two years to form a complete global network for enhancing the global service performance.
  • After completion, the navigation system would become an equivalent of the US Global Positioning System, Europe’s Galileo and Russia’s Glonass.
  • Applications:
    • Civilian services: Navigation, messaging, transportation and weather forecasting sectors.
    • Military applications: Ensure privacy for its military communications and missile launches by reducing the dependence on US operated GPS