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China to Reveal Compass Plans ‘Soon’

Opening-Mr Liao Xiaohan.JPGLiao Xiaohan, Deputy Director-General of High & New Technology Development and Industrialization, MOST
December 10, 2007

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China will release details of its Compass (or Beidou 2) program “soon,” including an Interface Control Document (ICD) for the GNSS system’s open civil service and a launch schedule for additional satellites, according to representatives of the China Satellite Navigation Engineering Center speaking at the Shanghai Navigation Forum (NaviForum) in Shanghai on Thursday and Friday (December 6-7).

China will also continue participating in the Galileo program but now consider Compass to be proceeding on a faster track than the European GNSS project in which they have a €200 million investment. Reconfirming earlier reports, NaviForum speakers said that Compass will include 30 middle Earth orbit (MEO) satellites and 5 geostationary (GEO) satellites with an initial operational capability for China and the East Asia region in place by 2009 and a full global capability later.

In the most extensive public presentation on the Chinese satellite navigation initiative to date, officials expressed their desire for a “compatible and interoperable” GNSS system of systems that also includes the U.S. Global Positioning System and Russia’s GLONASS, but anticipate rigorous negotiations around a Compass frequency plan that overlaps crucial Galileo and GPS bands.

Yang Qiangwen, a senior engineer at the China satellite navigation center, described in detail some of the results from tests on the first Compass satellite launched in April. In a question and answer period following his presentation, he said, “We’re making a lot of preparations and have a very detailed plan for the future beyond 2009. We will release information on our launch plans at a press conference [soon].”

Yang added that “an ICD document will be provided on our official website in the very near future,” free of charge, noting the satellite navigation center’s website is “still under construction.” He said that “no entrance or authorization fees” would be imposed for Beidou’s services.

A first-hand report on the Shanghai Navigation Forum, Compass/Beidou activities, and an inside look at GNSS companies in China will appear in the January/February 2009 issue of Inside GNSS magazine.

Copyright © 2007 Gibbons Media & Research LLC, all rights reserved.

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