Blog post

Beidou: China’s new satellite navigation system

26 Feb 2015

On 28 October 2014, just three weeks before Prime Minister Abbott and PRC President Xi Jinping signed an agreement in Hobart promising  ‘increased collaboration in Antarctic science’,  the Chinese official newsagency Xinhua announced that China would be establishing the first Antarctic base station for its Beidou satellite navigation system.

The Beidou system is China’s equivalent of the US-operated Global Positioning System (GPS). Given the broad functionality of such a technology in the civilian, scientific and military spheres, it is not surprising that polities beyond the United States should also have set about developing their own satellite-based navigation systems. These include the Russian GLONASS system, operational globally, the European Union’s Galileo system which is expected to be in full service in 2020, as well as the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) and the Japanese Quasi-Zenith Satellite System which are both regional systems.

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