• A Beidou satellite was launched in Sichuan Province. China plans to launch 30 more satellites in the coming years.

A Beidou satellite was launched in Sichuan Province. China plans to launch 30 more satellites in the coming years. (Photo : Getty Images)

By the end of 2020, China is set to launch around 30 additional satellites for the country’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System. A senior project official said that the aggressive effort aims to create a network of ground augmentation stations to improve the accuracy and coverage of the Beidou system.

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"About 18 of those satellites will be launched before 2018 to enable the system to cover nations involved in the Belt and Road initiative," said Director Ran Chengqi of the China Satellite Navigation Office. Once fully functional, the satellites would allow Beidou to achieve worldwide coverage.

Beidou serves as China's innovative answer to the three systems that preceded it. These include the GPS of the U.S., the GLONASS of Russia, and the Galileo of the E.U. countries.

During the Seventh China Satellite Navigation Conference in Changsha on Wednesday, Ran expressed his perception that the U.S. and other countries with satellite systems have positive expectations on China's Beidou system and its applications. He stated that the agency is currently in joint efforts with other 10 countries for the promotion of the said system.

The 10 neighboring nations that are in the collaborative project to improve the Beidou system are sharing their technologies through exchanges and transfers with China, as reported by China Daily.

Ran told the delegates of the conference that Beidou has been working on providing useful disaster aids to the countries that are cooperating with China in enhancing the satellite system. In addition, Beidou supported their financial services, transportation and telecommunication needs.

The development of the Silk Road Economic Belt project, which aims to connect China with Europe via the central and western regions of Asia, is being processed through the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2013, the initiative was proposed as a progressive strategy by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The strategy also includes the advancement of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aims to link China to Africa and to Southeast Asia.