China has completed and fully launched its home-grown Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) known as BeiDou.
While GPS has gained huge popularity as the industry-first navigation system, Europe (Galileo) and Russia (GLONASS) are also working on their own respective global navigation systems. Even India is working on its own navigation system called NavIC to cater for the Indian Subcontinent navigations.
GPS which is also known as GNSS refers to NAVSTAR GPS, owned by the US Government and was originally created for the US defense forces, but afterwards, was opened for public use.
BeiDou Navigation System as credible GPS Alternative
BeiDou consists of 35 navigation satellites in total, which have been deployed in three phases, namely: BeiDou-1, BeiDou-2, and BeiDou-3, with the first launch on October 30, 2000.
The satellites launched as BeiDou-3 are highly advanced than the previous phases, and capable of providing higher bandwidth as they are fitted with atomic clocks for precise time measurements and navigation services.
BeiDou navigation services were opened in China back in 2012 and the global launch followed in 2018; the service as at 2019 already has about 400 million users worldwide.
Growing Competition in the Navigation technology landscape
Apart from China, Russia (GLONASS), India (NavIC) and Europe (Galileo) are already working on their global navigation systems to cater for the respective regions.
What this means is that the days of over reliance on US NAVSTAR GPS are slowing coming to an end. Meanwhile, the US isn't relaxed, as they are also busy with upgrading their own navigation system with the deployment of GPS Block III, a pool of about 10 satellites.
The GPS Block III satellite is scheduled to be launched on June 30 with the help of Space X Falcon 9 rocket.