Hong Kong “South China Morning Post” article on February 23, original title: The study found that China’s Beidou satellite system is more conspicuous in space than its US competitor GPS. A new study shows that from near-Earth space, China’s Beidou satellite navigation system is more visible than its American rival GPS-and may be more of a beacon for spacecraft.
The precise position information of spacecraft and satellites is traditionally obtained through ground tracking stations. This kind of information is essential for space missions, because a small error in positioning can lead to errors in spacecraft orbit calculations or other problems.
China began to develop its own satellite navigation system in the 1990s, hoping to have a navigation system independent of GPS, which is controlled by the US military. Last year, the last satellite of the Beidou system was put into orbit to complete the network. Nowadays, Beidou navigation system has become more and more popular, and even some newer iPhone models are using Beidou service.
The researchers analyzed the data collected by a Chinese meteorological satellite that can receive GPS and Beidou signals at the same time to understand the accuracy of the system. They found that although the older Beidou satellites had some problems, their performance improved significantly when combined with newer satellites. The main advantage of the Beidou system is that spacecraft in low earth orbit can see more Beidou satellites.
As China advances its ambitious space program, its space assets continue to increase. An aerospace scientist in Beijing said that such global coverage could also help the Chinese military. Many new projects can use Beidou’s atomic clock for high-level control, timing, and measurement.
However, the research team said that the most accurate information can be obtained by using a combination of Beidou and GPS signals. Spacecraft equipped with receivers that use both systems at the same time will mean that more navigation satellites can be seen-for example, over North America, the relevant numbers can even double.