You read that right, folks, the representatives speaking for the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said this week that their Beidou satellite navigation system is currently operational and will have free, global coverage in place by the year 2020. This system Beidou, otherwise known as Big Dipper, will be providing both location data and SMS messaging to any device that can utilize it for free. Beidu is working right this minute mainly in China and the group says that global coverage is in the works for full working operation inside 8 years.
Ran Cheng of CASTC made a formal commitment this week that Beidou service would be free and remain free to all through the future. Chinese workers are currently seeing to the fact that this system must be operable with the US GPS system in the future as well as the forthcoming EU Galileo network and Russia's already in-place GLONASS. This first service is currently working for the area inside 84 degrees to 160 degrees east longitude, 55 degrees south latitude to 55 degrees north latitude: greater China.
Meanwhile it's been reported that "excitable" members of the Pentagon have decried the creation of a satellite network by China, saying that if there were a war that China could destroy the USA's GPS network with minimal effort. The Register is also reporting the the USA also has plans for satellites to monitor orbital war, this certain to clash with China's ability to do the same. Time for Star Wars, anyone?
[via The Register]