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"China's BeiDou and the World's BeiDou" is Turning From Blueprint Into Reality

On November 5, China successfully launched two BeiDou III global networking satellites at Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the manner of an arrow binary. This is the first space launch carried out by our country since the 19th CPC National Congress, opening up a curtain of battle for the global networking of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. Based on the plan to provide basic services to countries along the Belt and Road by launching 18 satellites around 2018, and to complete the goal of achieving global capability of 35 BeiDou satellite networks by 2020, China's BeiDou is marching towards the world.

How will BeiDou III realize "triple jumps" from domestic area to regional area, and to global satellite navigation? What's the leading technology behind it? And what surprises will it bring to China and the world?

Domestic, Regional, and Worldwide: BeiDou Sprint to the Ultimate Goal

There is an old Chinese saying that put the compass on the ground, and the direction will show. "As one of the three major satellite navigation systems in the world, BeiDou traveling above the orbit around the earth offers service from BeiDou I, to BeiDou II, and to BeiDou III, covering the domestic area, regional area, and global networking respectively, and constantly providing accurate and superior services to the vast number of users."

"I can both meet your demands, and offer excellent products to resolve your requirements so that BeiDou can serve the human society and benefit the common people." Since BeiDou regional navigation system has officially provided regional services from December 27, 2012, BeiDou has attracted attention from an increasingly growing number of countries.

"China'a BeiDou and the World's BeiDou" is turning from blueprint into reality. XIE Jun, the deputy chief designer of No.3 project in Aerospace Science and Technology Group No.5 Academy, and chief designer of satellite, introduces that before the BeiDou No.2 formally provides regional navigation and positioning services, China has already begun the research of BeiDou No.3 global navigation system, determining the development goals of building an independent, open, compatible, technologically advanced, and stable global navigation satellite system.

Xie Jun indicates that compared with the BeiDou No.2 regional system, the service area for BeiDou No.3 will be extended to the whole world. Meanwhile, breakthroughs in key technologies, such as upgrade and transformation of the downlink navigation signal, have been achieved, completing the smooth transition from the BeiDou No.2 downlink navigation signal, and add the new navigation signal on this basis to provide users with more quality services.

It is reported that the BeiDou global navigation satellite system with high performance and high reliability is one of the 16 major national science and technology projects in medium and long-term development planning in science and technology. Its construction not only improves and upgrades the BeiDou regional system, but also focuses on the world-class navigation satellite system to climb and leapfrog, which will enable China's navigation satellite system to reach the international advanced level.

High Precision, High Reliability, and High Insurance: There Are Many Highlights on Technological Breakthroughs by BeiDou No.3

CHI Jun, chief commander of BeiDou No.3 satellite in Aerospace Science and Technology Group No.5 Academy tells reporters that as the cutoff of water and electricity supply affects the city life, once the satellite navigation service malfunctions, not only will the country's economic operation be greatly affected, but also people's lives will fall into much inconvenience, which also puts harsh requirements on the reliability of the navigation satellite system. Overall, BeiDou No.3 possesses such features as high precision, high reliability, high insurance, and versatility.

——High Precision. On the basis of the performance of BeiDou No.2, BeiDou No.3 was designed with the emphasis on the third-generation GPS navigation satellites yet to be launched, and design indicators of the European Galileo navigation system at the beginning of its design. The positioning accuracy of BeiDou No.3 global navigation system will be substantially increased to the level of 2.5 meters to 5 meters, and with the BeiDou foundation enhancement system providing initial services, the meter-level, sub-meter-level, decimeter-level, and even centimeter-level services can be provided. At that moment, the accuracy of China's BeiDou will be commensurate with America's GPS.

——High Reliability. BeiDou is a systematic project. Each time a user enjoys the services of BeiDou, at least 4 satellites must be guaranteed to provide services; BeiDou is also a globally-covered system that requires at least 20 satellites to provide stable services at the same time, and this characteristic determines that the requirements of BeiDou on the quality and reliability are higher than the single-star positioning system, and more demanding requirements of reliability of the product are also raised.

——High Insurance. According to WANG Ping, chief designer of BeiDou No.3 satellite in Aerospace Science and Technology Group No.5 Academy, the BeiDou global navigation satellite system adopts multiple reliable reinforcement measures to maximize the system's insurance factor. For example, the BeiDou No.3 satellite control subsystem has increased the satellite's complete autonomous operation capacity by at least 60 days to ensure that BeiDou satellite can still function normally on the orbit when the failure occurs at the ground control station; and by adopting a number of reliability measures, BeiDou No.3 satellite is designed raise the life expectancy by over 10 years.

——Multifunction. In addition to the short message and other special features, China's BeiDou can also send out the user's location information so that other people can know the user's status, better solving the problem about who, what and where. The combination of SMS and navigation is a major feature of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. With a terminal, you can enjoy both services of navigation and communication.

BeiDou Services Come to Our Lives

ofo and BeiDou jointly launch the BeiDou smart lock; bluegogo uses the BeiDou foundation reinforcement system to achieve the meter-level positioning, and the problem of drift fails to occur even when the bike is under the shade. In order to more accurately report "where am I", shared bicycles have been gradually connected into the BeiDou high-precision space-time positioning services.

However, Shared bicycles only constitute one of BeiDou's near-term applications to serve the common people. From rescue and disaster relief to precision agriculture, and from fishery broadcasting to intelligent housekeeping, various kinds of BeiDou's high precision positioning services and products takes the "BeiDou + Internet + other industries" as the new model, widely applied to all aspects of national economy and people's livelihood.

The White Paper on the Development of China's Satellite Navigation and Location Services Industry (2016) recently released shows that in 2016, the total output of China's satellite navigation and location services industry reached 211.8 billion yuan, an increase of 22.06% compared to 2015. BeiDou's contribution rate to the core value of the industry reached 70%, indicating that China's satellite navigation and location services industry features a bright future.

"At present, BeiDou's application in China has entered a phase of rapid development. With the combination of satellite navigation, and the internet of things, big data and cloud computing, and other technologies and areas, satellite navigation and location services have become an important strategic emerging industry in China." said by MIN Yiren, deputy director of the National Mapping Geographic Information Bureau.

In Wenchang Qinglan Port located in Hainan province, BeiDou navigation terminal is the standard configuration for fishermen going to the sea. With this terminal, fishermen can carry out real-time monitoring during sea operations, alarms can be activated when danger occurs, and weather forecast and warning notice will be received by fishermen. BeiDou has become the clairvoyance, clairaudience, and amulet for fishermen.

YU Xiancheng, president of China's Satellite Navigation and Positioning Association, said that BeiDou technology has jumped out of the category of single navigation technology. Under the urgent needs from various industries such as the city gas, urban heating, power grid, water supply and drainage, BDS precise service system has provided BeiDou accurate services to various industries in over 400 cities and effectively promoted the optimization and improvement of smart city infrastructure.