Pakistan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Algeria, and Uganda, as well as other African and Belt and Road Corridor (BRC) countries are the beneficiaries of the Beidou-3 system.

Beijing is counting on its trillion-dollar Belt and Road global infrastructure project to convince other participating countries to use its technology as it attempts to grab market share from GPS — although some experts have cast doubt on its ability to do so.

What is the Beidou-3 Navigation System?

BeiDou-3 is a new global navigation satellite system being developed by China National Space Administration (CNSA) as an alternative to the global positioning system (GPS) of the US, Russia’s GLONASS, and Europe’s Galileo.

The BeiDou-3 is part of the BeiDou navigation satellite system (BDS), which aims to develop space infrastructure for round-the-clock, all-weather, accurate navigational, positioning, and timing services.

Begun in 1994, BDS-1 was completed in 2000 to provide services to China. In 02012, BDS-2 was finished, and has provided navigation service to the Asia-Pacific region. Once the final satellite achieves orbit and is checked out successfully, BDS-3 will provide navigation services worldwide.

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The BDS system also has a range of applications such as communications, hydrological monitoring, surveying, mapping, geological survey, forest-fire prevention, time synchronisation for communication systems, power dispatch, search-and-rescue (SAR), and disaster mitigation and relief operations.

CNSA launched 18 BeiDou-3 satellites in 2018, while the latest satellite of the constellation lifted-off in June 2019. The BDS-3 is now fully operational in 2020, upon the launch of 35 satellites.