Beijing : China s indigenous Beidou Navigation Satellite System began providing initial positioning and navigation services to China and its surrounding areas from Tuesday, an official said.
Six more satellites will be launched in 2012 to further improve the Beidou system and expand its service area to cover most parts of the Asia-Pacific region, spokesman Ran Chengqi told a press conference.
China began to build the Beidou system in 2000 with a goal of breaking its dependence on the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and creating its own global positioning system by 2020, reported Xinhua. So far, China has launched 10 satellites for the Beidou system, with the tenth being lifted into orbit earlier this month.
The Beidou system is compatible and interoperable with the world s other major global navigation satellite systems, according to Ran. Ran encouraged enterprises at home and abroad to join the research and development of application terminals compatible with Beidou, saying a beta version of the system s Interface Control Document (ICD) could be accessed online starting Tuesday.