(Yicai Global) May 24 -- China's Beidou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) will begin networking globally this year, with six to eight satellites due to be launched by the end of 2017 and global service expected to be ready by 2020.
The country plans to launch 18 satellites by the end of next year, said Wang Li, chairman of the navigation system's committee, at yesterday's annual academic conference for the industry. The satellites will provide basic services for countries along the Belt and Road before kicking off worldwide by 2020, online news outlet The Paper reported.
China has begun constructing the BDS-3 system and started networking worldwide, said Ran Chengqi, director of the system's management office. The new system, which is based its predecessor, BDS-2, will have a more accurate atomic clock and improve inter-satellite connections to offer higher precision positioning, timing and navigation.
The Beidou Navigation Satellite System was created and is operated solely by China and is a nationally important part of its space infrastructure. At the end of 2000, China built its first Beidou system to provide local services in the country, at the end of 2012, it completed the second system, providing coverage of the Asia-Pacific region.