Tuesday, January 8, 2013

With Beidou, China reopens the battle of satellite navigation

China has put into service Beidou satellite navigation system sound. It is less lucrative aspect of this market, its strategic and military convinced Chinese, Russians and Europeans to invest tens of billions to develop their own programs guide satellite ...

The American GPS saw the last hours of his lucrative monopoly. After Russia, China, which is launching its own satellite navigation system. Beidou entered service on Thursday and covers the vast territory of the Middle Kingdom, Asia and South-East part of Oceania.

Launched in 2000, the Chinese program called "Big Dipper" (in Chinese Beidou) has already put into orbit a constellation of 16 satellites, plus four more in the experimental stage. To the Chinese press, the Beidou system is the opportunity to extol the success of the national engineering in space. But China does not stop there. The program includes the launch of a new forty satellites by 2024 to increase its coverage to the whole world. The objective is to capture 70-80% of the market for navigation satellite estimated at $ 500 billion by 2020 ...

Technology that is experiencing

Beidou but must first demonstrate the reliability of the system if it does not want to know the same torments as GLONASS , the system of Russian satellite navigation. Commissioned in 2008, the "Russian GPS" has never proved its reliability. Satellite failures, devices fall into the Pacific Ocean ... The system is not developed, so that the Russian Air Force no longer wants. "The GLONASS system is useless for Russian aircraft" has dared to write Neradko Alexander, head of the Russian Federal Agency of Air Transport, before being forced to deny his statements. He believes that the obligation of all Russian aircraft to be equipped with a compatible navigation system was extremely expensive. Thus required 25,000 euros per plane for a dual GPS / GLONASS. In addition, experts complain about the poor quality of the signal, which could make it dangerous to navigation airliners ... Even the Russian government recognizes that GLONASS known failures, despite its exorbitant cost (10 billion euros in 2020).

Europe lagging

Europe, for its part, has several trains behind with its own satellite navigation program. The Galileo system will be commissioned between 2014 and 2016 (it was originally scheduled to be operational from 2008).The European Union has taken a long time to find common ground, including its financing . The initial budget has slipped from 3.4 billion to 5.3 billion in the end to put into orbit a thirty satellites. In addition, a diplomatic standoff between Brussels and Washington, the two systems use the same frequency-generating risk-interference, failed to condemn the European project. It took almost three years of negotiations to bury the hatchet, in June 2004.

A major strategic military ultra-

For Europeans, like the Chinese and the Russians, the establishment of a satellite navigation system clean is not only justified by commercial considerations. It is first a strategic issue military. Recall, that the original GPS is an invention of the U.S. Army. This flange also the degree of precision in the civilian version of the GPS. For Russia and China, they abandon this technology returned to capitulate to the technological superiority of the U.S. military. I must say that from the military applications of this technology are numerous: troop transport, materials, supervision of such territories, navigation on land, sea and air, missile guidance ...

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