China to have a GPS of its own by 2020
Beijing: China will establish its own global navigation system, (GPS) by 2020 by launching about 12 to 14 satellites in the next few years to form a regional and autonomous navigation positioning system, a top Chinese official here said.
The GPS is essential from China's economic and defence point of view, Qi Faren, expert of Chinese space technology said.
GPS, which is maintained by the US is a space-based global navigation satellite system (GNSS) that provides reliable location and time information in all weather and at all times and anywhere on or near the Earth when and where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. It is freely accessible by anyone with a GPS receiver.
The Chinese communication system would be developed according to three phased plan. The first step is to build a regional navigation system.
"But the regional navigation cannot meet the current demand. A growing China needs to establish a global positioning system according to its development," People's Daily online quoted Qi as saying.
In the second step, China will launch 12 to 14 satellites during the preliminary phase of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).
These satellites will form a regional and autonomous navigation and positioning system, he said.
By the end of 2020, China will have more than 30 satellites around the world. Building a global navigation system is very significant to China and the rest of the world.
It is the embodiment of China's national capability and will enhance China's ability in information usage.
It will also form a satellite application industry and develop into a strategic emerging industry to provide services to people, he said.