Yang Changfeng, Chief Designer of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System: Tackle Indoor and Underwater, and Make Navigation Everywhere

By the end of 2018, the construction of the BeiDou-3 basic system was completed and the BeiDou System has officially entered the global era. A few days ago, the CCTV reporter interviewed Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, allowing us to know about BeiDou more in detail.

The BeiDou-3 Basic System Has Been Constructed and Starts to Serve the Globe

On December 27, 2018, the construction of the BeiDou-3 basic system was completed, meaning that the service scope of the BeiDou System is starting to expand from regional to global, and the BeiDou System has officially entered the global era.

Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System: Signal of four satellites of BeiDou-3 can be received simultaneously in any corner of the world, making sure that our BeiDou signal can be used for real-time positioning in that place; this is the most important sign.

Reporter: What is your highest expectation?

Yang Changfeng: Now, we still promised the public to achieve a level of 10 meters, but we’re actually expecting 1 to 3 meters.

Reporter: A precision of 1 to 3 meters.

Yang Changfeng: Right.

Reporter: What is the level of this precision compared to other navigation systems?

Yang Changfeng: it can be described as a world-class level, so we are running head.

At present, BeiDou has been integrated into all aspects of production and life, and is widely applied in mass consumption, smart city, transportation, public safety and many other fields in China.

CCTV reporter Gu Bing: The global positioning systems of the United States and Russia are mature and even provided free of charge. In such circumstances, is it really necessary for China to invest so much money and manpower for such a project?

Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, said: “I don’t think any infrastructure can be built based on other people’s stuff. Just like skyscrapers. If they are built on the foundation of others, they won’t be solid. We Chinese must do it by ourselves. In terms of these core technologies, one of our beliefs is that we must do it by ourselves, and present it by ourselves. When you are not allowed to step on the giant’s shoulders, you have to find a way to become a giant yourself. Only by this way can you undertake the whole cause.”

Stage-Four Mission: Tackle Indoor and Underwater, and Make Navigation Everywhere

It took the people of BeiDou 18 years to complete the construction of BeiDou-1 and BeiDou-2. BeiDou-1 allowed China to become the third country in the world with independent satellite navigation system after the United States and Russia. The service area of BeiDou-2 covers the Asia-Pacific region, and BeiDou-2 has become one of the four major service providers of the international satellite navigation system. In 2009, the BeiDou-3 project was officially initiated. According to the “three-step” development plan of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, the BeiDou-3 global network was launched in November 2017. In the past year of 2018, the BeiDou-3 system completed the launch of 10 rockets and 19 satellites in one year with 100% success, setting a new record for the world’s satellite navigation system construction and China’s space launch of the same model.

CCTV reporter Gu Bing: In your plan, what is the next stage--the fourth stage?

Yang Changfeng, chief designer of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System: at the fourth stage, we are asking what are the weak points of our satellite navigation system? It can neither navigate indoors, nor underwater. Next, we need to combine the core system of BeiDou navigation with other systems, in addition to achieving higher performance, stronger anti-jamming ability and higher accuracy. What we’re going to develop next is combinations with 5G and our low-orbit communications, some underwater navigation systems, combination of indoor navigation and so on. In other words, the navigation will perhaps be seamless and ubiquitous by then.