Chinese GPS also in the works
In a recent post
we highlighted the Russian governmentâs stated intention to revitalize its version of GPS called Glonass. The Europeans are also working on a GPS-type satellite system, called Galileo
. We shouldnât leave out the Chinese, who in February of this year launched a navigation satellite aboard a Long March 3A rocket (photo at left) as part of a projected 30-satellite system called âBeidou,â which is known in English as âCompass.â This spacecraft joins three previous Beidou satellites launched between 2000 and 2003.
The Chinese system will reportedly provide 10-meter accuracy. Interestingly, the Chinese are also part of the Europeansâ Galileo consortium. And in one report by the London-based newspaper Financial Times, a Chinese spokesman was very up front about why the Chinese are involved in Galileo. He said they were committed to Galileo to âimprove political ties, learn from European know-how and provide greater competition.â
While the Chinese may wish to have their own GPS-type system, they have a long way to go and thr path can be a difficult one. Witness the current situation with Galileo. The projected operational date of the system, which will reportedly cost $4 billion, has been pushed back to 2011 due to technical problems and political wrangling among the member states of the consortium.