China launches the final satellite in its Beidou constellation – an alternative to the US Global Positioning System (GPS)
China has successfully put into orbit the final satellite in its BeiDou-3 navigation system, advancing the country as a major power in space and reducing its reliance on the US government-owned Global Positioning System (GPS).
The last satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province
The $10bn network is made up of 35 satellites and provides global navigation coverage.
The launch marked the completion of the country’s domestically developed BeiDou constellation.
China’s space program has developed expeditiously over the last 20 years.
The first Beidou satellites were launched in 2000 after the Chinese government realized the need of an independent navigation system.
Four global navigation systems
- Global Positions System – GPS (United States)
- Global Navigation Satellite System – GLONASS (Russia)
- Galileo – European Union (EU)
- Beidou – China