BeiDou: China launches final satellite in challenge to GPS

China has successfully placed into orbit the final satellite in its BeiDou-3 navigation system, further advancing the united states as an important power in space.

Tuesday’s launch will allow China to no further rely on the united states government-owned Global Positioning System (GPS).

The $10bn (£8bn) network is made up of 35 satellites and global navigation coverage.

It comes as tensions between Beijing and Washington are increasing over the coronavirus, trade and Hong Kong.

The launch have been scheduled for last week but was delayed after technical problems were found with the rocket in pre-launch tests.

The third version of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) offers an alternative to Russia’s GLONASS and the European Galileo systems, as well as America’s GPS.

Future plans promise to support an even more accessible and integrated system scheduled to come on line by 2035 with BDS at its core.

The first version of BeiDou, meaning “Big Dipper,” was decommissioned in 2012.

China’s space programme is rolling out rapidly throughout the last 20 years as Beijing has provided significant funding to develop the country’s own high-tech systems.

In 2003, China became only the 3rd country to launch an unique crewed space mission. Since then it has built an experimental space station and sent two rovers to the moon.

The moves are noticed as preparation for a permanent space station, a potential crewed flight to the moon, and a possible first attempt to send an orbiter and rover to Mars.

That would make China a serious contender to America in space exploration.

The relationship between Beijing and Washington has become increasingly strained over several dilemmas since the start of this year.

US President Donald Trump and his administration have again and again criticised China over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak – the virus first emerged there in December.

In response to a new Hong Kong security law pushed by Beijing, the US president last month announced he will end preferential treatment for the town in trade and travel.

This week the connection between the US and China has come under increasing scrutiny after former National Security Adviser John Bolton said in his new book that Mr Trump sought help from Chinese President Xi Jinping to win re-election.

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