●BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System (BDS): by China
•China has formally launched full global services of its BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System (BDS).
•The name BeiDou comes from Chinese word for the Big Dipper or Plough constellation.
•China’s BeiDou navigation project was launched in the early 1990s
•The navigation satellite system was completed in three steps: BDS-1 which provided services to China, BDS- 2 to provide services to the Asia-Pacific region and BDS-3 which provides services worldwide.
•It will be the fourth global satellite navigation system after the USA GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and European Union’s Galileo.
•It is said to be much more accurate than the USA’s GPS.
•A hybrid constellation consisting of around 30 satellites in three kinds of orbits: Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO), Inclined Geo-Synchronous Orbit (IGSO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO).
•Provides navigation signals of multiple frequencies, and is able to improve service accuracy by using combined multi-frequency signals.
•Offers accurate positioning, navigation and timing, as well as short messaging communication, international search and rescue, satellite-based augmentation, ground augmentation and precise point positioning, etc.
•The services are used in various fields by China including defence, transportation, agriculture, fishing, and disaster relief.
•While China says it seeks cooperation with other satellite navigation systems, Beidou is being seen as a rival to America’s GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo networks.
•The development of its own secure and independent navigation system will boost China’s military strength, especially amidst rising US-China tensions.
• The better accuracy and experience of BDS, as claimed by China will lure companies to sign-up for it. As the global market is being increasingly dominated by an information-based economy, China is expected to reap huge economic benefit from BDS.
•China’s Hold on Other Nations: China is promoting its use in the countries signed-up for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Pakistan has already started using BDS. This will certainly give China economic and political leverage over nations adopting this system.
•Edge over India: This has also given China a competitive edge over India, whose IRNSS-NavIC is still a regional navigation system.
•Importance in Covid Times: The world is becoming heavily dependent on space infrastructure due to the impact of COVID-19 limitations on in-person physical meetings and travel restrictions. Thus, information and space-based services will gain importance in present times.
•China’s Authority in Space: The space program of China has seen rapid advancements in past few years with the launch of Tianwen-1 rover mission to Mars.
•China has also constructed an experimental space station and sent a pair of rovers to the surface of the moon (Chang’e-4). BDS is another step in marking China’s presence in Space.