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What is BeiDou?

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

What is BeiDou?


China has recently completed its BeiDou Navigation Satellite System constellation.

What is the BeiDou navigation system?

It is Chinese Satellite Navigation System.

The system uses a network of satellites and can provide positional accuracies of under ten metres (GPS provides positioning accuracies of under 2.2 metres).

  • China initiated BeiDou in 1994 with aims to integrate its application in different sectors, including fishery, agriculture, special care, mass-market applications, forestry and public security.
  • BeiDou offers services including accurate positioning, navigation and timing as well as short message communication.

How many satellites are there in the system?

It consists of 27 satellites in medium Earth orbit, five in geostationary orbit and three more in inclined geosynchronous orbits.

What does this mean for China?

As ties between US and China deteriorated, it had become more important for China to have its own navigation system that the US does not have control over.

By completing BeiDou, China now has its own navigation system, which will compete with systems developed by other countries.

It is of foremost importance in allowing China’s military to employ Beidou-guided conventional strike weapons.

Which other countries are working on building their navigation systems?

  1. The GPS is owned by the US government and operated by the US Air Force.
  2. Russia has its navigation system called GLONASS.
  3. The European Union (EU) has Galileo.
  4. India’s navigation system is called Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC).



Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between low earth orbit, medium earth orbit and geostationary orbit.
  2. Services offered by BeiDou navigation system.
  3. How is it different from the GPS of US.
  4. About GLONASS and Galileo navigation system.
  5. About NavIC.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the objectives and significance of NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation).

Sources: Indian Express.