China has launched a satellite that is intended to mark a new development in global positioning. The satellite is called the Beidou II and is the first “network deployment” satellite placed in a positioning system by the name of Compass. The satellite was launched from the Sichuan province.
The purpose of the satellite is to provide speed measurement, positioning, and time services to China. This is similar to GPS services available in the U.S. Beidou II will enable China to compete for commercial contracts and for military purposes. China will depend less on foreign communication by using Beidou II.
The original Beidou-1 system, launched in 2000, is made of 4 satellites and has limited coverage. Beidou-2 will consist of 35 satellites. Over the next several years, China will invest $296 million in the Galileo positioning system project.
“Beidou” is named after the Big Dipper constellation. The constellation is known as “Beidou” in Chinese.