Beijing, June 23 (efe-epa).- China launched Tuesday the latest satellite of its Beidou geolocation system (BDS), its alternative to the American GPS, from the base of Xichang, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, state agency Xinhua reported.
The launch occurred at 9.43 local time (01.43 GMT) on the “Long March 3B” transport rocket.
The satellite, which successfully entered orbit 25 minutes later, will complete the network of 35 third-generation devices (BDS-3) of the Beidou system (Big Dipper in Chinese), which the Asian country launched in 2015 to be able to offer coverage global positioning.
The launch of the last satellite was scheduled for June 16, but was suspended for “technical reasons.”
China began building the Beidou 20 years ago, with the aim of being self-sufficient in navigation technology and having an alternative system to GPS.
It is made up of two separate satellite constellations. The Beidou-1 consists of three satellites that since 2000 have offered limited coverage and navigation and positioning services for China and some neighboring countries.
The Beidou-2 began operating in December 2011 with ten satellites in orbit and has offered navigation and positioning services to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
With the Beidou-3, the system would reach global coverage this year and would be ready to provide an alternative to the other three currently in existence: the American GPS, the European Galileo and the Russian GLONASS.
With 35 satellites, Beidou would have more than 31 in the US system and also more than the European and Russian systems.
According to its promoters, Beidou also has a margin of deviation in precision of 10 centimeters, compared to 30 centimeters in the GPS.
China’s estimated investment in the project exceeds $ 10 billion (€ 9 billion).
Nearly 200 countries have already applied to China for BDS technologies, which it currently exports to more than 120 nations, according to its officials.
American experts have recognized that the Beidou, having been designed a few decades after GPS, has learned from the GPS experience and has improved the precision of geolocation.
In China, 70 percent of mobile phones can receive BDS positioning signals, as well as taxi, bus and truck navigation systems. EFE-EPA