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For more than a decade, China has been creating its own version of the Global Positioning System, or GPS. Well now the basic system is up and running, providing navigation for people in China and neighboring countries.
China's indigenous satellite navigation system called Beidou is up and running for people in and around China. It started providing initial operational services, including positioning, navigation and timing Tuesday.
The 10th satellite of the network was launched back on December 2nd, putting the finishing touches on the basic structure of the system.
Tests were carried out for the past six months.
[Yang Qiangwen, China Satellite Navigation System Management Office]:
"Firstly we carried out comprehensive tests on all the satellites, including all key machines and equipment, to ensure they can provide continuous service. Secondly, we optimized the positions of all the satellites to ensure the best conditions for operation."
Six more satellites will be launched in 2012 to further expand the service area of the Beidou system to most parts of the Asia-Pacific region.
[Ran Chengqi, Management Office, China Satellite Navigation System]:
"Preliminary tests show that the basic positioning and navigation system of Beidou has reached the set standards and we have officially moved from the test system to the working system. This step marks the transition from construction to application."
The global satellite positioning and navigation system will be completed in 2020, with 30 satellites orbiting the earth.
Started in 2000, the Beidou satellite navigation system is designed to make China independent of the Global Positioning System (GPS).