Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Satellites
Chinese PNT Satellites (BeiDou)
Of all the nations deploying and operating PNT satellites in 2018, China…
In 2017, China continued expanding its BeiDou constellation, the nation’s space-based PNT system. Launching two BeiDou satellites, the nation’s share increased to . . .
China’s expansion of its positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) constellation, BeiDou, continued during 2016. The country’s share of the world’s orbiting operational PNT satellites increased to ##%, ## more than its share in 2015. China’s share of PNT satellites exceeded…
In 2014, China had paused in its BeiDou PNT satellite launch activities with its BeiDou satellites making up 20.5% of the global PNT satellite fleets. There were 16 BeiDou satellites orbiting the Earth in medium or inclined geosynchronous Earth orbits providing regional PNT service to China during 2014. By the end of 2015, China had added another four BeiDou satellites, bringing the constellation strength to more than half of the 35 satellites China anticipates to have in operation by 2020.
China was uncharacteristically inactive in terms of PNT satellite launches during 2013 and 2014. A new navigation test satellite the Chinese were expected to launch for phase 3 of the BeiDou2 constellation in 2014 was delayed to 2015. ## BeiDou2 satellites are already in medium Earth orbit, ## are in geostationary orbit, and another ## are in an inclined geosynchronous orbit. All ## are aimed at providing PNT service to China and areas surrounding it. China plans to have about ## BeiDou satellites in the constellation by 2020 for global coverage.
In 2011, China became the third nation to declare a PNT system operational, with the announcement that its BeiDou system was able to provide location data and SMS messaging for users within China. In late 2012, The China Satellite Navigation Office published the complete interface control document for the system, enabling international manufacturers to build BeiDou-compatible receivers. Basic services to surrounding regions in Asia were enabled in 2012, and by mid-2013, Chinese efforts to aggressively promote BeiDou as a viable alternative to GPS and GLONASS were well underway.
Since 2000, China has been building its own PNT system, known as BeiDou. In December 2011, the Chinese government announced that its initial services—location data and SMS messaging—commenced for users within China. The two-way nature of this system allows the Chinese government to track the position of terrestrial BeiDou users, enabling applications such as asset tracking. Basic services to surrounding regions in Asia were scheduled to commence in 2012.
Since 2000, China has also been building its own national PNT system, known as Beidou (the Mandarin name for the constellation otherwise known as the Big Dipper). China launched ## satellites in 2011 to join the ## currently in orbit. These satellites will later become part of a global constellation, Compass, which is planned to consist of ## MEO satellites for global coverage and ## GEO satellites that will focus on regional coverage over China. Beidou began operating in December 2011, providing initial PNT services to a swath of the Asia-Pacific region from Australia in the south to Russia in the north with an accuracy of 25 meters (82 feet).
China is planning to supplement its Compass Satellite network already in development. In April 2007, China launched BeiDou-2, the first MEO satellite for Compass. Plans have been announced for the launch of ## PNT satellites over the next two years. This network, limited to the Asia Pacific region initially, may be operational by the end of 2010.