Beidou Satellite: Detailed Overview

Beidou Satellite

#GS-03 Science and Technology

For Prelims:

About Beidou Satellite:

  • The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System is a Chinese satellite navigation system consisting of two separate satellite constellations.
  • The first BeiDou system, officially called the BeiDou Satellite Navigation Experimental System and also known as BeiDou-1, consisted of three satellites which, began in 2000.
  • It offered limited coverage and navigation services, mainly for users in China and neighboring regions. BeiDou-1 was decommissioned at the end of 2012.
  • The second generation of the system, officially called the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and also known as COMPASS or BeiDou-2, became operational in China in December 2011 with a partial constellation of 10 satellites in orbit.
  • Since December 2012, it has been offering services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • In 2015, China launched the third generation BeiDou system (BeiDou-3) for global coverage.
  • The third iteration of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System provides full global coverage for timing and navigation, offering an alternative to Russia’s GLONASS, the European Galileo positioning system, and the US’s GPS.
  • China has, since 2020, also made an outreach to South Asia and is already working, or in discussion with, a number of countries in the region, including Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, over adopting the Beidou satellite (BDS) navigation system.
  • China is also helping several BRI partners, including Pakistan and Sri Lanka, launch communication satellites.

About NavIC:

  • NavIC is India’s alternative to GPS and has been in operation since 2018.
  • NavIC acronym for Navigation with Indian Constellation also known as Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system.
  • NavIC will provide two levels of service, the “standard positioning service”, which will be open for civilian use, and a “restricted service” (an encrypted one) for authorised users (including the military).
  • There are plans to expand the NavIC system by increasing its constellation size from 7 to 11.