China Edges Towards Global Navigation Coverage
The latest contender in the global navigation sweepstakes has moved a little closer with the launch of the fourth satellite in China's second-generation Beidou constellation during the first week of June 2010. Beidou (which means Big Dipper) will cover all of China and neighbouring lands by 2012, and will then be expanded to provide global coverage through a constellation of 35 Compass satellites by 2020.
Compass will differ from other GNSS systems in that five of the intended 35 satellites will be in geostationary orbit, while the other 30 will have medium earth orbits similar to the GPS, GLONASS and Galileo constellations.
Although very little has been officially announced about the signals to be transmitted by the new system, the launch of the first Compass satellite in 2007 did enable independent researchers to build a Compass receiver. However, the lack of official data means that no commercial work is likely in the near future.
The Spirent GSS8000 Series of Multi-GNSS constellation simulators have been designed to be compatible with the Compass system. And as soon as the Chinese authorities release the Compass ICD, Spirent will be looking to make a solution available. This will enable users to design Multi-GNSS receivers that will have true global appeal, offering compatibility with GPS, GLONASS and Galileo in addition to the Compass system.
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